Fine artist exploring abstraction, the reverse entropy of painting, gestures ≠ digital, and northern/gender identity

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Jenny Beard is a painter working within contemporary painting, and her process is built upon automatic drawing, using digital tools to create and manipulate sketches. Abstract imagery is used to explore optical space, depth, and flatness. The work is open ended and explorative, dealing with the paradox of appropriating abstract marks for abstract paintings. During this mimetic experience, the work could be read as representational.

When approaching the work, Jenny is interested in gestures and marks – and when they become signs. Marks are ambiguous, whereas a sign directs us, informs us. Part of her practice involves pushing paint between gesture and sign. What happens if a mark is isolated – If it is scaled up, repeated, or a pattern is made of it?

Digital methods are embraced in Jenny’s practice, but the work is always finished traditionally and meticulously. Painting doesn’t die; instead digital exploration opens up new ways of seeing and laying paint, which creates a refreshing relationship between artist and painting.

Text is used in the work as a form of protest, presented as single words or ramblings. There is a conversational tone, dealing with issues and observations of being a working-class northern women in the arts, but also an undertone of self-deprecation and humour. The paintings are a way of ‘testing the waters’ of self expression, as the artist comes to terms with and moves away from their reserved traits.


  • Middle of the Road @ Leeds Arts University (September-December 2022)
  • Routes North @ Messums North, Harrogate (January-February 2022)
  • After Space @ Gallery 164, Leeds (January-February 2020)
  • Solo Show @ Fika North, Headingley (August-September 2019)
  • Solo Show @ Arts Cafe, Leeds (August-September 2019)
  • Guts Gallery @ Ugly Duck, London (May 2019)
  • Ones To Watch @ Sunny Bank Mills, Leeds (March 2019)
  • Solo Show @ The Civic, Barnsley (January 2019)
  • The Petri Dish @ Leeds Arts University (December 2018)
  • RED @ Norman Rea Gallery, York (September 2018)
  • AON Community Art Award @ Leadenhall Building, London (August 2018)
  • Free Range @ The Old Truman Brewery, London (July 2018)
  • SYZYGY @ Leeds Arts University (June 2018)
  • Ones To Watch @ Sunny Bank Mills, Leeds (March 2018)
  • Sour Times II @ Mabgate Bleach, Leeds (2017)
  • Harmonise @ Jam Jar, Bristol (2017)
  • Wellbeing Artfest @ Leeds Arts University (2017)
  • Swetshop III @ Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds (2017)
  • y tho @ Brunswick Court, Leeds (2017)
  • Ones To Watch @ Sunny Bank Mills, Leeds (2017)
  • Lost & Found @ St, Georges Crypt, Leeds (2017)
  • Paint By Number Issue Launch @ Studio 24, Leeds (2016)
  • Swetshop II @ Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds (2016)
  • Sustainability Symposium @ Canal Mills, Leeds (2016)
  • CMYK @ Regent Street, Leeds (2016)


  • Corridor 8, Middle of the Road (Nov 2022)
  • Artful, Winter Issue (Dec 2020)
  • DIY Youth, Appropriation Issue (2018)
  • Nest, Issue 11 (2017)
  • Paint By Number, Issue 2 (2016)
  • Parnassus, Issue 1 (2014)


  • BA Hons Fine Art (1st Class) Leeds Arts University
  • A Level Fine Art (A*) Barnsley College