Pontone Gallery exhibits a new sequence of paintings by UK-based artist, Henry Jabbour. He paints figures, flowers and abstract studies in an expressively gestural style with an eye for rich and sumptuous colour. The surfaces of the paintings are a riot of. heavy impasto and glutinous agglomerations of thick, creamy oil paint. The slick and sticky medium, receptive to mark and trace, records the subtle imprint of his confrontation with the subject.
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His figures are schematic and cursive studies of human interaction and tenderness. Although recognisable, they are fragile and hard to pin down. Located in vestigial landscapes, their images hover on the edge of disintegration. Lost and then revealed in the turbulent surface, they are on the verge of being assimilated into the matter of the painting. We see a fleeting impression of presence, caught through a hazy atmosphere drenched in golden sunlight. They shimmer and distort, sliding in and out of abstraction, as if seen through a Mediterranean or North African heat haze.
Jabbour’s vibrant palette deploys blistering oranges, egg-yolk yellows, azure blues, astringent violets and pulsating reds. He explores dynamic combinations, contrasting hues and complementary couplings. His small, abstract pieces are proving grounds for such experimentation. Free of the motif, he focusses on investigating the aesthetic components of his craft: colour temperature; the agitation, flow and pace of application; contrasts in viscosity; layering and accretion; the physical recording of subtle gesture.
These seductive pictures are super-saturated with colour and variegated texture. They are exercises in stimulation that wander down pathways of enquiry into the fundamentals of technique and the physicality of paint. Their jewel-like and intensely-worked surfaces reveal a delight in manipulating the medium for its own sake; the pleasure that the artist takes is both palpable and contagious.
Courtesy of the artist and Pontone Gallery, London