Claudia Jowitt’s richly textured and layered paintings in pearlescent pastels seem to test the limits of what paint can do. Here all sorts of tools and kitchen implements – from icing bags and decorator tips to tile grouting combs – are employed to squeeze, mould and push oil and acrylic paint into distinctive surfaces that are almost sculptural reliefs. Challenging mid-century, modern, masculine notions of pure painting with all its disdain for the decorative, Jowitt’s paintings are a feminine and feminist reclaiming of luscious surface. Notions of purity are also subverted with the inclusion of found elements, which speak to location and identity. Reflecting her partial Fijian heritage, several of the works incorporate masi (Fijian tapa cloth), magimagi (coconut husk cord) and shell as well as plant, stone and leather.
Jowitt completed a Master of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland in 2015. In 2016, she was the inaugural Tautai Pacific Arts Trust Artist in Residence at the Dunedin School of Art. She has been exhibiting since completing her undergraduate degree at AUT in 2009 and has works in the University of Auckland and Wallace Collections as well as many private collections.