Hymns to a Passion: Gabrielle Jones

1 September to 20 October 2019

“If you work with abstract painting for a period of time, you may come to think of it as a melody, a song, a piece of beautiful music”- Judi Betts.

Gabrielle Jones revels in the joy that art-making has brought to many an artist and observer throughout the course of history. Jones contorts colour until it becomes tangible, moving harmoniously with music one can only wish to hear. Her practice of abstract expressionism is rooted in the skilful application of paint that depicts more than just an object but something from within. An exploration of how oil and acrylic react to movement has given rise to a body of works that unify method and chaos, drawing the viewer’s eyes back and forth through progressions of colour and form. The presence of the artist is always evident in Jones’s work. She has sought to personalise abstraction by emphasising the paint brush as an extension of her hand, a stream of pure consciousness flowing from the artist onto the canvas.

“There is a freedom and ease in these new paintings. I’ve broken down all the “shoulds” and barriers and just painted and painted […] I have tried to remain curious, responded to the work, and relaxed. I’m exploring what paint does - trying to push my repertoire and skills and get out of my own way” - Gabrielle Jones.

The works unfold themselves to the viewer in a flirtatious push and pull. The more you stare the more they will reveal. The velvety glide of Seduction (2019) enthrals with its languid strokes - What could be hidden in that dark centre? Passion (2019) contains a flurry of oranges and deep reds; the motion of the pigment creates a haze suggestive of overwhelming elation. The paintings are somehow as tactile as much as they are visual. One can feel the surface of each work, sense the texture, without even having touched them.

Music is fundamental to Jones’s practice, each artwork containing its own choreographed dance. The performance element of mark making sits at the very heart of her current body of work Hymns to a Passion. The moment of creation is fleeting, but the energy captured in these paintings lives on.

Jones speaks of her practice as being in a transitional phase. Reflecting on her past work, this burgeoning transformation becomes apparent. The layered brush strokes and riot of colour yields a luminosity developed through many washes of paint. It engenders a sense of something that won’t be contained. This sensation is exemplified in Inner Voice (Mother Love) in which a luscious, fluid form, akin to a growing organism that will soon blanket its jagged environment, moves across the canvas. The painting epitomises Jones’s current body of work where emotional intensity, viewer interpretation and the physical act of painting merge on the canvas. Jones herself perhaps offers up the best manner in which to frame these works:

“In the end, the work is a call to the viewer to enter into the poetry and reality of making art, to collect their mental and sensual responses to the different works - to understand, enhance or orchestrate their sense of what it is to make art and specifically, poetic abstract art”.