Jen Roper

Bunk Beds and Peeing Dogs


12 January - 15 March 2024


Vernon Street Gallery

Visiting hours

10:00am-4:00pm Monday to Friday

Preview: 11 January 2024 5:00pm-7:00pm

Location: Leeds Arts University, Vernon Street, Leeds LS2 8PH

Revisiting moments of embarrassment in everyday life, Roper’s paintings explore awkward encounters, drawn from specific events witnessed, or experienced, by the artist and reconstructed from memory. They purposefully make a spectacle of the uncomfortable, holding a spotlight on the moments we’d often like to forget.

Roper interrogates these moments of exposure, the viewer finding themselves torn between the relatable social discomfort and the schadenfreude of being a spectator watching the scenes unfold.

Relying on memory to recreate the scenes, Roper uses her imagination to fill in the blanks, allowing her to manipulate the composition to best represent the story she is trying to tell. This lends a certain naivety to the works, feeling and narrative are prioritised over accuracy and proportion. This instinctive way of working grants an intimate look into the perspective of the artist, while also acting as a reflection and exploration of the inexactitude of memory.

Working quickly with a pre-mixed palette, she paints with one layer, allowing her to work with the memory uninterrupted and in a continuous rhythm. The vibrant, bold brush strokes and loose movements grant the pieces a painterly, playful style, their characteristic humour conveyed through deadpan expressions and exaggerated figures.

Jen Roper (b.1996, Lancaster) is a London based painter, who graduated from Leeds Arts University in 2021 and City and Guilds of London Art School in 2022. She is a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Award 2021 and shortlisted for The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2022. She recently had a solo show at Standpoint Gallery after completing a two-month residency programme and a group show with Goodeye projects after completing their three-month residency programme.

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