Sam Jinks: A Higher Power

With equal parts technical prowess and unrestrained imagination, Sam Jinks defies the logic of construction.

Words: Danny Lacy

Photography: Mark Ashkanasy

It is just over ten years now since I curated Sam Jinks’ survey exhibition Body in Time at the Shepparton Art Museum in Victoria which offered an overview of the artist’s sculptural practice up to that point. Since then, Jinks’ work has continued to evolve and expand and he has held solo exhibitions in Greece, Taiwan, Singapore and Ireland and been included in a number of key group exhibitions including 21st Century Hyperrealism – Breathing at Daejeon Museum of Art, Korea in 2015 and Hyper Real at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra in 2017.

It takes time for Jinks to make work and there are no shortcuts to the meticulous process of creating his detailed hyper-real sculptures. This makes it a rare occasion that he has the opportunity to present a solo exhibition featuring more than one or two works. Following last year’s Covid-19 downtime and a break from the constant production of his work, Jinks has had time to focus on developing new ideas and to re-charge his passion

Jinks describes the new work he is developing as focussing on “symbols of inspiration and resurrection, exploring ideas of faith, the human condition, and the strange yet familiar order of the natural world, using both mundane and transcendent imagery and forms”. In an upcoming solo exhibition in August at Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney, he will present a selection of stunning new and recent sculptural works that build upon his formidable reputation as one of Australia’s leading sculptors.

The centrepiece of the show is a large hyper-real sculpture titled Iris – The Messenger, which presents a kneeling female figure with soaring golden wings looking into a mirrored pool of dark water. Jinks has used Greek mythology and the figure of Iris, the messenger of the Olympian gods, to construct a powerful interchange for his ideas. The pool of water represents the River Styx, the conduit to the underworld, and much like Narcissus who was forever trapped looking at his own reflection, Jinks’ Iris becomes inseparable from her reflection in the pool. It is a showstopper of a work, bringing together all the elements that make Jinks’ work so sought after – technical dexterity and conceptual imagination with the added power of awe and amazement.

Ursula Sullivan, co-founder of Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney comments that “Sam’s work is nothing short of breath-taking – they are obviously impressively technical in construction, but it is the emotional characteristics of his work that really stay with you. I’ve seen people moved to tears in front of his work, he has this direct channel to peoples’ inner worlds that is not seen in contemporary art today”.

This article was originally published in Art Collector issue 97, July-September 2021. 


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