Jahnne Pasco-White
messmates
27 February – 30 March 2019

enquiries: info@dainesinger.com

messmates, artist statement

“Make kin not babies”, Donna Haraway implores. The injunction is directed outward to conceive of human kin as rare rather than abundant, and thereby precious. Human kin, for Haraway, should be activated across blood ties as well as be intergenerational, not confined to any prescribed limits of the nuclear family. What is more, our energies should be extended not merely to non-human others, such as barnacles and magpies, nor even to non-human things, such as rocks and estuaries, but to what Haraway calls “messmates”—those populous bacterial companions in and of the body. Making babies is relatively easy, Haraway reasons, but making kin is hard.

For me, by contrast, the experience of pregnancy, childbirth and mothering forged new networks of kinship, and demanded that I took notice of others with whom I was already co-constituted. Enabling a life that I can see, touch, smell and hear explicated the bare fact that I had always shared my body with countless messmates. My life’s companions. Making a baby was a co-production of kith and kin, both external and internal, of give and take. Making kin, I see now, is an unfolding process of becoming with my young and myriad messmates.

Responding to this awakening of an embodied kinship, my messmates series of work consists of eleven overlapping panels spanning more than 25-metres in length across all four gallery walls. This exhibition is therefore both my largest scale work, and also my most intimate one.

– Jahnne Pasco-White, 2019


Jahnne Pasco-White’s expanded painting practice considers the intersections between temporality and materiality. Her work is characterised by the labouring of delicate supports. Specifically, she is interested in the layers of authorship that are variously evidenced and concealed by the artist’s mark-making, as well as their continual processes of decay and renewal.

Jahnne’s has held solo exhibitions in: New York, (910 Lofts); Sydney (Daine Singer at Spring 1883); Auckland (Artspace); and Melbourne (Daine Singer, Testing Grounds, Bus Projects, Rearview, Long Division Gallery, C3, Counihan Gallery, Seventh, Brunswick Lake). She has participated in group shows in: New York (Pulse Art Fair, Honey Space Gallery); Leipzig, Germany (Westpol A.I.R. Space, LIA, Spinnerei); Auckland (Artspace); and in Melbourne (The Honeymoon Suite, Assembly Point, Town Hall Gallery, Incinerator Gallery, Slopes, Brunswick Sculpture Centre).

Jahnne is a studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary in Melbourne. She was the 2018 recipient of the Australia Council Marten Bequest for Painting and has been awarded a 2019 scholarship at the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Moya Dyring Memorial Studio at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. She has completed residencies in Germany, Italy, Iceland, New Zealand, and Australia, including at LIA in Leipzig, the Rome Art Program, and the Icelandic Nes Artist Residency. She holds a BFA in Drawing from RMIT University (2010) and First Class Honours (2015) from the Victorian College of the Arts. Jahnne currently lives and works on Wurundjeri land, in Australia.

Read the catalogue essay by Helen Johnson >>

Read Nadiah Abdulrahim’s preview of messmates in Art Guide >>