‘Intimate Immensity’ 
Curated by Katherine Dionysius and Amy-Clare McCarthy
Words by Katherine Dionysius and Amy-Clare McCarthy - Outer Space
In Jenna Lee’s work, Balarr, the artist refers to the Larrakia[1] word, which can mean ‘to light up’, ‘to make light’ or ‘to dawn’. While she works across a number of different mediums, Lee often creates artworks that involve paper, language and text. Some of her more recent work ‘explores the transformation of the printed word through the act of destruction and reconstruction, seeking to translate them into a new tangible language.[2] Balarr is part of Lee’s ongoing practice of exploring the acts of identification and labelling, and the relationships formed between language, label and object. By repeating the word across three different works, Lee references the layered meaning that the word possesses—it could be understood to mean the starting of a fire, the lighting up of one’s eyes, the feeling of lightness, the first light of the day, or the first light in the universe. In some ways, the work implies the limitations of language, particularly written language that is void of tone or context, but it also suggests that language can be used to capture complex ideas within something tangible—it contains multitudes.

[1] The Larrakia people are the Aboriginal traditional owners of all land and waters of the greater Darwin area.
[2] John Fries Award. Jenna Lee. http://www.johnfriesaward.com/finalist/jenna-lee/ (accessed 20 September 2019)

Images: Charlie Hillhouse https://charliehillhouse.com/

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