These are paintings to be seen as well as read
Jeff Gibbons curated by Jo Melvin
Jeff Gibbons’ paintings are like a form of visual syntax with a linguistic twist. He includes phrases culled from lyrics, art terms and sayings. Gibbons combines familiar expressions with everyday objects like cups, glasses, bottles, tables, flowers and birds. His use of paint incorporates subtle, at times blatant word play, underscored by humour. Although conceptually driven they are very accessible, and sometime funny. The handling of paint shows an engagement with paint’s material qualities and dichotomies between figuration and abstraction. These are paintings to be seen as well as read, like the rebus and its image-word application (a is for apple). His use of paint sometimes directly echoes the subtle, deadpan humour of the expressions. Literary rather than literally by association, the titles describe a way of working and thinking through painting. How to solve This, THis THis THIS, WHAT This IS, This IS WHAT?, THIS make, HISTORY – Being So Cheerful Keeps Me Going and A PITCHER HOMAGE TO GENE BEERY. This exhibition shows recent work alongside work made some twenty years ago together they become a total installation. It reflects Gibbons’ thinking that the space of paintings are part of an indefinable present, there is no past painting, all painting is present in the NoWhere Now here of paintings’ spatial encounter. They represent some of the complexities of his day-to-day experience in paint.
Jeff Gibbons work is in collections in the UK, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and the USA.
Jeff Gibbons (1962, London) makes paintings, performances and publications. He lives and works in London and Norfolk, England. He studied at Middlesex Polytechnic, and London University. Winner in the John Moores Awards 1995, Liverpool and The NatWest Art Prize, 1997 and 1998. Solo exhibitions include: 2018 Volare/ Cantare, Campello sul Clitunno, Volare, Cappella Madonna Del Pozzo, Spoleto, Italy, 2018 The Studio of the Greatest Painter in England, Centre for Better Health, Hackney, London, 2017 THis, Westminster Library, London, 2016 Rue des Trois Visages, Arras, France, 2013 IN Signific Landscapes, 2012 Take 5 Gallery, Tombland, Norwich, 2011 NOT flowers, St Johns Hackney, London, 2009 Vanitas, Art Space Gallery, London, 2007, In Parenthesis, Art Space Gallery, 2005 Room Paintings, Gloucester Cathedral, Gloucester.
Selected group exhibitions 2019 MACHISMO, Villa Lontana, Rome, Postcards Home, Tintype Gallery, London, 2018 Palazzo Ducale, Gubbio, Italy, Bag Book - A Bigger Profile, with Jo Melvin and Joschi Herczeg, (FTHo), London, 2017 Umbrian Umbrella, performance during Spoleto IX Viaggiatori sulla Flaminia, Art of the Postcard, Handel Street Projects Gallery, London, 15 People Select their Favourite Book, Mahler & LeWitt Studios, Spoleto, 2016, Make-shift, Black Barn Norfolk, 2014, Drive the Change, Zurich, Switzerland, 2012, Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Art, London.
Jo Melvin is a curator and writer, Reader in Fine Art, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL, London and director of the Barry Flanagan Estate. She is based in London, UK. Current and recent projects include Barry Flanagan retrospective at IKON Gallery Birmingham, and Publication Scaffold, Dublin, with Sean Lynch and Michele Horrigan, Language Games, Franca, with Fabio Giorgi Alberti and Adelaide Cioni, Cannara, PG, Italy, MACHISMO, Villa Lontana, Roma, with Vittoria Bonifati, Recent exhibitions include the Hare as Metaphor: Barry Flanagan Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, 2018. Guest critic with the Booklyn Rail, New York and guest curator with the Mahler & LeWitt Studios, Spoleto, Italy, where she devised a residency, symposium and publication-as-exhibition project in collaboration with Viaindustriae, Foligno, Radio Arte Mobile, Rome. Recent publications include essays on Gene Beery, Keith Milow, Ian Davenport, Helio Oiticica, David Nash. She recently completed a film project called HATS, in collaboration with the composer James Cave.
Photos by Paul McCarty