Friday, September 18, 2009

Gabrielle Jones - dialogue with paint

Gabrielle Jones
'Night Storm'
2008, 122 x 152 Oil on Canvas
Image courtesy of the artist

The other day I had the pleasure of visiting Sydney artist Gabrielle Jones in her studio. We had lots to talk about. So much so that on my train trip home I madly scribbled recalled snippets of our conversation, covering three blank end pages of my current read - Night Studio: a memoir of Philip Guston.

A natural colourist, Jones' abstracted landscapes are taken from memories of shape and space in nature. She is an interesting mixture of an intuitive painter and one that makes considered decisions about how colour and form should combine. These paintings offer her own unique view of the Australian bush in all it's extremes -hot and sun drenched; dry, restful, cooling shade.

Jones related to me an early lesson she learnt at art school which was to allow a painting to take her where it wants to go. Clearly it's a lesson that works for her style and her painting process. Although periodically she draws from life, her main sustenance for subject comes from her memory. The main work in each painting comes from decisions she makes as the work grows before her ( each work springs from one primary painting and so there is a constantly active process of looking and re imagining). It's about the conversations she has with herself and the painting materials - canvas, brushes, paint - that seem to concern her most.

Jones seems to revel in formal elements such as the ambiguity of a shape. Also, space as a counter point to shape, is just as important. Her use of white might be something to do with this nuance and, to my mind, helps to tie her surfaces together so that they feel both weighty and light all at the same time. There is a meatiness to her paint too which I really like and we spoke for a long time about the way the edges - the spaces between two shapes or the meeting of two tones of colour - can keep a painting buzzing with tension or, in the case of some of her identified 'failures', leave a painting feeling predictable and deadened.

"Of course, I'm still learning to paint" she maintains. From this statement I get that Jones is willing to push paint around, ask it questions and grow as an artist in that process. Gabrielle Jones is a painter who knows her stuff and can speak the language of paint with real insight. Visit her website and her blog too where you will find her interesting ruminations about art and life as well as a wonderful collection of quotes from other artists.

Gabrielle Jones has an upcoming show: "Trees for my Father" depot II Gallery, 2 Danks St Waterloo Nov 3 -15 Drinks with the artist Wed Nov 4 6-8pm


ambermaida said...

Great post- i really like "Night Storm" and hearing about her art. Might need to read "Night Sudio a memoir of Philip Guston" next, i am currently reading "De Kooning an American Master." Thanks

Undercover Painter said...

Thanks for looking and commenting. She's an artist worth watching. The Guston book, like the De Kooning book, is a fascinating read. Highly recommend it.

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