Award Holders 2020/21

Jeffrey Dennis

Abbey Fellow 2020/21

My proposal is based around the ambition to make a body of work arising from extended visits to Keats- Shelley House. I would like to spend the time offered in Rome to make paintings that explore the potential of the idea of Negative Capability, as conceived by the poet John Keats, to provide a conceptual framework allowing complex, layered work embracing ambiguity, narrative and contradiction.

Although Keats only visited Rome shortly before his death, his poetic imagery draws heavily of Graeco- Roman mythology and literature. I wish to use the residency as an opportunity to deepen the relationship my work has to this mythology. I have previously made paintings that, although they may not appear to be explicitly ‘classical’, make reference to the stories of Eurydice, Orpheus and Hades and include imagery collected from previous journeys to Naples, Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The opportunity to make a number of visits to the Keats-Shelley House in Rome to explore the artefacts and correspondence contained there provides scope for examining whether this concept may provide a metaphorical tool, within painting, to hold in equilibrium the demands of observational content, conceptual ambition and material imperatives.


Middle Ear

Close to the Edge