Jason Martin, Richard Allen & Emily Thomas

Exhibition Preview Saturday 15th June 5pm – 7pm

Exhibition opening times Monday to Friday 11am to 6pm
At all other times by appointment

Private & Public Gallery are pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Jersey’s greatest living artist Jason Martin. Following exhibitions in New York and Paris last year, Jason continues his investigation into the fundamentals of painting creating unique compositions of multiple shades, chromatic blends and elegant tonal shifts. This exhibition, which is remarkably his first ever in Jersey, will be shown in our principle gallery space and is supported by monochromatic images by the late Richard Allen and gallery artist Emily Thomas whose beautiful op-kinetic drawings tell the story of hard edge abstraction within modernist and contemporary art practice.

 As seen throughout his career, Martin never ceases to challenge himself and interrogate the origins and parameters of painting. Through his experiments into the unknown, Martin explores new materials to discover different reactions through which to expand his practice. For this exhibition Martin is, for the first time, showing watercolour paintings which result in a series of works which have an intensely natural feel and earthly elemental nature that appear to make reference to his early life as an artist when he was continually inspired by the natural beauty of Jersey, its landscape, sea and light.

The late Robert Tilling RI, Martin’s teacher at Victoria College, had a huge influence over Martin’s formative years as an artist and in this exhibition there are unquestionably subtle references to Tilling’s work which are both touching and poetic.

 Jason Martin is unquestionably one of the world’s pre-eminent painters whose large scale paintings fetch six figure sums on both the primary and secondary markets but Private & Public Gallery are delighted that local art enthusiasts can now own an original piece for a fraction of that price. To own one is not only to hold a piece or art history in your hands it is also to have a unique piece of local history that will continue to rise in value in the future.

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About Jason Martin

Born in Jersey in 1970 Jason Martin studied Fine Art at Goldsmith College in London and upon graduating in 1993 instantly shot to stardom with his inclusion, by Charles Saatchi, in the seminal exhibition Sensation at the Royal Academy which defined the YBA generation of artists.

 He was subsequently represented by Lisson Gallery in London and has staged major solo exhibitions on every continent and his works are held in many of the world’s leading museums. Solo exhibitions include Schauwerk Sindelfingen Museum, Germany (2017); Museum Gegenstandsfreier Kunst, Ottendorf Germany (2016); Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (2009), Es Baluard Museu d’Art I Contemporary de Palma, Majorca, Spain (2008), Kunstverein Kreis Gutersloh, Germany (2007); and Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Malaga, Spain (2005).

Martin lives in London and Portugal and practices from three large studios with the help of many assistants using a range of materials that have been described as oscillating between painting and sculpture, with the vigour of an expressionistic abstract painting but with the controlled hand of a minimalist. He is perhaps best known for his monochromatic paintings, where layers of oil or acrylic gel are dragged across hard surfaces such as aluminium, stainless steel or Plexiglass with a fine, comb like piece of metal or board in one movement often repeated many times. Striations catch the light, their rhythmic textures suggestive of the ridges in a vinyl record , strands of wet hair and the grain of a feather. More recently Martin has done away with paint altogether in his wall mounted casts of copper, bronze and nickel, whose surfaces are unctuous but frozen. In his pure pigment works, vivid colour is applied to moulded panels , whose baroque contortions appear like an extreme close up of a painters palette. Most recently Martin has re-engaged with paint and his work veers from epic and luscious compositions of swirling dark oils to pared down muted abstractions in off-whites as seen in his May 2019 solo exhibition at Lisson Gallery London. For this Private & Public exhibition  Martin returns to his island roots with elegant watercolours that search out the memory of landscape, seascape and light and which show us the full range of his artistic brilliance.

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About Richard Allen

Richard Allen (February 8, 1933 – February 9, 1999) was a British Minimalist, Abstract, Systems, Fundamental, and Geometric painter and printmaker. Allen worked prolifically from 1960 until his death, in 1999 and lived in Jersey for 20 years with his wife and two daughters Rebecca & Alice.

During the winter of 2016/2017 Tate Britain exhibited its Richard Allen work, Six Panel Systems Painting (1972) to great critical and popular acclaim.  

In the early 1960s he became involved In the Op art and Kinetic art movements, exhibiting with Bridget Riley,. A fascination with interferometry influenced his work at this time and enabled him to develop the linear element in the collage works into a form of optical painting. This work was done using fast acid dye on canvas and an acrylic resist line for the structure of the paintings. There are few artists who convey such a strong sense of spiritual purity in their work as Richard Allen. His paintings pull you in like an icon; devotional images that mesmerize with their myriad vestigial shapes beneath superficially plain and bold exteriors. They make you stare. And watch. And wait. Yet they also buzz with the cheerful, zappy energy of the billboard and advertising hoarding. By the time Allen hit 41 he had exhibited at the Whitechapel, and Hayward galleries and even been feted in a one-man show at the ICA. His natural place in the pantheon of the great British artists of the 1960’s and 70’s alongside Bridget Riley was validated by the Tate Gallery and his work requires no external endorsement and it is clear that Allen’s work is amongst the most pioneering and compelling of its generation.

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About Emily Thomas

Born in Exeter, 1980 Thomas Graduated from Falmouth College of Art in 2002 with BA (Hons) Fine Art before moving to London in 2003 were she and worked at the National Art Library at the V&A Museum, and later at Chelsea College of Art, managing the Fine Art and Special Collections.

 Thomas then moved to Jersey in 2010 and returned to fine art practice and participated in a joint show ‘Surface or Space? Adventures in Abstraction’ at Private & Public Space in August 2018.  Her work is held in important private collections in the UK, Ireland and Jersey.

 Thomas’ recent drawings represent a return to the daily practice of creating work and continue her interest in the endless permutations that are possible with stripped-back, minimal marks.  These pieces are as much about the process and personal experiences of producing a drawing as they are a finished image or end product.

For Thomas repetition in the images is important and also a compulsive part of the process whereby composition is often worked out during the course of a drawing, or sometimes planned out in advance, based on previous trial and error in other pieces.  Thomas says of her work ‘I find it helps to set certain rules or limitations to cut out distractions, such as using graph paper, only grey tones or black and white, and drawing within the confines of a square’.

Some drawings have an obvious pattern, sense of rhythm, or movement whereas others have deliberate irregularities that become apparent when time is spent “reading” the image. 

“I like the idea that time spent by the artist on production somehow equates to the time spent in return by the viewer in looking at the finished pieces” – Emily Thomas