Jemma Clamp is a visual artist born in England and brought up in Cape Town, South Africa. Jemma graduated from Ruth Prowse School of Art in 2018 with a Diploma in Fine Arts in Drawing and Illustration. She co-curated both the Ruth Prowse final year exhibition and the Spring Pop-Up Exhibition, and her artwork was commissioned exclusively for Aerial 2018, a creative writing anthology published by the ISEA (Institute for Studying English in Africa) of Rhodes University. Described as abstract psychological surrealism, Jemma’s artworks utilise a combination of obsessive pattern-making, expressionist inkwork, and intricate detail to reveal representations of our underlying natures as spiritual, psychological, and biological beings.

Tri-Spectre Exhibition Details

The title of Jemma Clamp’s debut solo exhibition, Tri-Spectre, refers to the three pillars of her research into human nature: biology, psychology and spirituality. Like her artwork, Jemma’s research was obsessive, free-associative and guided toward self-understanding. Biology, particularly the illustrative studies of Ernst Haeckel, grounded her interpretation of human nature in the physical, both in substance and in the balance of its forms. Psychology and psychoanalysis foregrounded notions of the subconscious, memory suppression, and good and evil. Research of various religions, particularly Zoroastrianism (a Persian religion pre-6th century BCE), encouraged the spiritual (and spiralling) realisation that everything was connected, that everything both meant everything and nothing. These pillars provided a framework by which Jemma enacted artistic self-discovery and therapeutic inertia. Crucially, Tri-Spectre is the documentation and the means of Jemma’s odyssey to confront her own mental illness and psychic traumas, often while in their very midst. They are prodigious works of white-knuckled courage, scope and beauty.
“When reflecting on the dark murky image, I can see the beginning of the journey and the end. I head into this knowing that it is bigger than me. I keep finding understanding when I understand nothing.” – Jemma Clamp
Tri-Spectre is showing from 1-30 April 2021 at the Art is Art Gallery, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock Cape Town.

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