The paintings are tribute to individuals who are not afraid to stand up to the establishment and challenge how our society functions. All the paintings are 28 by 36 inches and are oil on canvas.
Rebels and Troublemakers was inspired by the shocking images of the 82 year old Jewish peace campaigner, Walter Wolfgang, being ejected from the Labour Party Conference in 2005 under the terrorism laws, for heckling Jack Straw. Walter who has lived in London since 1937 has since been elected to the Labour Party National Executive Board where he campaigns for peace in Lebanon and the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq.
Jolie’s method of working is to spend time with sitter, make drawings and take photos. She then uses this material to paint her instinctive response to the individual.
Jolie both undertakes private commissions and seeks out subjects who have moved and inspired her. She views this part of her practice as a challenge to portraiture’s traditional hierarchy which tends to depict only those with high social status
In 1998 Jolie took on the mantle and identity of psychiatric service user at the Maudsley Hospital. A year later such was her emotion about her experiences that she decided that as an artist she needed to give visual expression to her feelings. The starting point for a Portrayal of the Psychiatric System was to paint those whose particular roles at the Maudsley defined them as both responsible for users’ care and accountable for users’ experiences.
In total 30 portraits were painted of 15 individuals: five members of the Trust Board, five members of staff and five service users. Two portraits of each individual, the mad and the sane, the purpose of which was to portray two very different sides of their identity. The portraits are on permanent display in the Maudsley Boardroom a challenge to the artist’s perception of the traditional hierarchy of portraiture.
There is a particular vulnerability when one sits for a portrait, a handing over of ones identity which has a parallel to the experience of using psychiatric services.
The intention of Madly Famous which Jolie painted in 2000 was to challenge the stigma surrounding mental illness. 25 celebrities were approached to sit for a portrait that was to be exhibited at the mental health charity National Mind’s headquarters. Only two agreed Trisha Goddard and the actress Denise Welch. The depth and scale of the stigma around mental health problems was reflected in the reluctance of famous people to take part. Four portraits of mental health activists, famous amongst their peers for their work challenging the mental health system, were included in Madly Famous.
An additional series Madly deadly Famous was produced by Jolie. Based on existing paintings she made portraits of Lady Dianna Spencer, Winston Churchill, Vincent van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and Virginia Woolf to emphasise that you can be famous, successful and have a mental health problem.
The 12 paintings of famous psychiatric service users past and present were exhibited in the Stratford Picture House, the Assemble Hall Norwich and the Edinburgh Filmhouse.
Jill of the Green was a show at the Hastings White rock theatre, in April 2005 with four women artists all of whom had studied at Camberwell School of Art.
The worked produced took look at the Hastings spring festival Jack of the Green. Jolie’s work depicts the naked green figure of Jill of the Green in various parts of Hastings.
Inspired by Jolie’s passion for swimming and a pleasure in painting people from her imagination.