Jennie Castle is a Zimbabwean born, Irish artist working from her studio ‘an Spéir Design Studios’ in rural County Kilkenny. She received both Bachelor’s and Master’s degreesin Architecture from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal University, in South Africa, in 1987 and has a background in Fine Art. Jennie has pursued a creative path throughout her architectural career in South Africa and since arriving in Ireland in 2006,established her own studio space.
Jenniehas worked in multiple media, from mosaics, ceramics, printmaking to drawing and oil painting to express her interest in natural and built heritage of her immediate environments.
The artist has facilitated both mosaic workshopsand community mosaic projectswithin the County.The artistassisted in establishing local community projects:Thomastown Community Network, Thomastown Creative Arts Festival and Thomastown Biodiversity Garden. Jennie is currentlyinvolved in community-led housing (Nimble Spaces) in Callan, County Kilkenny.
A solo exhibition in Berlin:‘Exotica Noir’ in 2010 and the design and supervision of a passive house in 2015, with the establishment of a rewilding project on the land, have been recent career highlights. At a time of climate crisis and biodiversity loss, the land project has provided an ecological focus to the artist’s work. Jennie has curated open studio exhibitions around the theme of rewilding as part of the arts festivals: AKA and Thomastown Creative Arts Festival.
In 2022, Jennie completed a daily drawing diary documenting the plant biodiversity of the land. A recent publication in the Irish Sunday Independent attracted considerable on-line response. Jennie is currently developing her ecological arts practice.
Influences: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, William Morris, Hundertwasser, Lucien Freud, Gustavia Klimt, Egon Schiele, Andrew Wyeth. Andrew Verster. Mary Greening.
William Kentridge, Michael Wann, Jenny Saville. Jeannie Kinsler. Louise Jennings.
Environmentalists: Mary Reynolds, Mary & Robert White, Fiona O’Connell. Greta Thunberg.
2022: ‘Re-Wilding III | Bramble’. Open studio exhibition as part of AKA and Thomastown Creative Arts Festival August 7-14th. County Kilkenny, Ireland. 2021: ‘Re-Wilding II | Butterflies’. Open studio exhibition as part of AKA and Thomastown Creative Arts Festival August 8-15th. County Kilkenny, Ireland
2019: ‘Re-Wilding’. Open studio exhibition as part of AKA and Thomastown Creative Arts Festival August 11-18th. County Kilkenny, Ireland
SOUTH AFRICA 1993: While attending the Pascale School of Art, work was exhibited at the Natal Society of Art (NSA) Gallery, Durban, South Africa with artists Dennis Spalding and Isabelle Leclesio. 1995: Exhibited paintings at the NSA, Durban, with architects Brian Kearney, Jenny Whitehead, Roy Farren, Mary Greening and Peter Croxon. Exhibited oil paintings on several Members Exhibitions at the N.S.A. Gallery, Durban. 2001: Exhibited at the Botanical Artists of South Africa exhibition in Kwa-Zulu Natal. 2005: Exhibited in show entitled ‘Dwell’, artSPACE, Durban with artists Jeannie Kinsler and Louise Jennings 2005: Exhibited at the Wildlife Society Exhibition at the International Conference Centre, Durban 2005: Participated in the ‘Affordable Art Fair’, artSPACE, Durban. 2006: Pre-view solo exhibition ‘Exotica’ at Surrey Mansions, Durban, South Africa. IRELAND 2006/2007: Established and participated in ‘Painting of the Month’, series at CASTLERIN Studios and Workshops, Grennan Water Mill, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. February 2007 and January 2008 2007: Curated and participated in an exhibition of the work of the artists who had contributed to the ‘Painting of the Month’ series, during Kilkenny Arts Festival at CASTLERIN Studios and Workshops, Grennan Water Mill, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. 2007: Produced a mosaic mural (3m x 2m) for private house in Kilkenny and other mosaic artworks such as table tops, pots, tiles etc 2008: Curated an exhibition of the work of the artists who participated in the ‘ Painting of the Month’ series, during Kilkenny Arts Festival at CASTLERIN Studios and Workshops, in the new premises : ‘The Studio’ Bennettsbridge, Co. Kilkenny. 2008: ‘Kilkenny Castle and Roses of Antiquity’ – an exhibition of oil paintings at Rothe House, Kilkenny, Co. Kilkenny during the Kilkenny Arts Festival. 2008: Children’s community projects : external mosaic (2.4m x 2.4m) and two external mural panels (each 4.8m x 2.4m) for Ballylinch, disadvantaged community area, Carrick on Suir (Tipperary Council/Pobal Funding) 2009: Children’s Community Mosaic Project, Mother of fair Love, (Special Needs School) Kilkenny (Kilkenny Arts Council/Council funding)
2009-2010: ‘exotica – exotica NOIR’ – a first solo exhibition of paintings, mosaics and ceramics. artSPACEBerlin, Berlin, Germany, in April. 2010: ‘Summer Roses’ – an exhibition of oil paintings. Bank of Ireland, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, August. 2011: Exhibition of Mosaic Mirrors using re-cycled ceramic pieces sourced from local ceramic makers. Blackberry Café, Thomastown Co. Kilkenny, August. 2012: ‘Crème de Noir’ exhibition of oil paintings, ceramic and mosaics as part of ‘ Three Solos’ exhibition held during the annual Kilkenny Arts Festival in August. Mc Kenna’s Arch, Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. 2012: ‘Retro Fora’ - an exhibition of oil paintings at the Truffle Fairy Café, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, August. 2013-2015: Designed and supervised the restoration of a Farm Cottage and associated Outbuildings and the construction of own new Passive House in Ireland. Project included artwork, paintings and mosaics. 2017: ‘Flowers’ - a small exhibition of ceramic imprints and mixed media original prints at RESTOCK, Funchal, Madeira. 2018: ‘The Inked Orchid & other Botanicals’ to be held in my new studio during the Thomastown Creative Arts Festival August 12-19th.
2019: ‘Re-Wilding’ exhibition as part of AKA and Thomastown Creative Arts Festival August 11-18th.