Remembering Chris Jennings

The former Senior Lecturer at London Met Chris Jennings is remembered for his teaching, friendship, humour and inspirational ways.

Date: 31 October 2022

London Met was saddened to learn of the recent passing of former Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Art, Media and Design at London Met, Chris Jennings.

Chris was a painter, draughtsman and installation artist who would also construct beautiful handmade maquettes in his studio as studies to project and create 2D paintings from, to enable what he described as “an immediate and tactile handling of space”.

Born in Buckinghamshire in 1942, Chris studied at St Martins School of Art, St Albans School of Art and The Royal College of Art. He was later a visiting artist at Ecole des Beaux Arts, France; Crawford Municipal College of Art, Eire; Princeton University; and The New University, New York, USA. In 2004, he received his PhD. from London Metropolitan University.

His work was held in various private collections in the UK, France, Holland, Germany, Belgium and Australia; and included in the Arts Council England collection. His series of drawings, Meniscus, are held in the collection of the Department of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum.

His work investigating the relationship between painting and music notation was shown at Standpoint Gallery, London, 1997 and Trinity College of Music, London, 1998, from which he gave a series of lectures and seminars in the Music Department at Princeton University, in collaboration with composers John Puterbaugh and Bertolt Sobolik.

His numerous group and solo exhibitions also include Rentree, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University; Box Project, Museum of Installation; Chris Jennings, Galerie Sapet, Mirmande, France; Art For Society, The Whitechapel Gallery, London; and others at Flowers Gallery, London, Abbot Hall Gallery, Kendal, Camden Arts Centre, London, City Art Gallery Southampton, and Peterborough City Museum and Art Gallery.

His monograph, ‘Scrutiny and Immanence: Selected Work of Chris Jennings’ with a text by Dore Ashton, was published in 2001 to accompany a retrospective of paintings and silverpoint drawings at the Stanley Picker Gallery. His exhibition of new paintings Attachments and Separations was held at Unit 2 Gallery, London Metropolitan University in 2008. In this new series of works, canvases were “conjoined and juxtaposed” and presented at an angle to the wall, adding a new sculptural element to his practice to exploit the "illusionary power of colour and line to explore the dynamics of space".

Former Head of School of Fine Art Ian Robertson added, "Chris was a genuine friend and colleague, generous with his time and knowledge, committed to education with a passionate engagement with painting. He will be dearly missed."

James Steventon, a former student of Chris' and now lecturer in Foundation in the School of Art, Architecture and Design at London Met recalls, "I always enjoyed our tutorials which could often be long philosophical conversations about the nature of art, colour, life. He once said to me 'do not under estimate the importance of painting' and that has always stuck with me."

3D Technical Demonstrator for Ceramics, Harvey Reehal remarked, "Chris was an absolute legend."

Senior Lecturer in Foundation and Interiors, John Cash added, "Chris was a wonderful tutor, work colleague and friend over the years. A gentle, warm, compassionate soul with a cheeky, mischievous humour that always made us laugh in the office over tea and biscuits."

Many of Chris' publications can be found in the London Met's Special Collections Archive.

Chris is survived by his partner Gwen Fereday.

abstract sketches and models by Chris Jennings