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Vanessa Jackson: Rough Cut and Faceted: review by Charley Peters

Marcelle Joseph Projects, 84 Hatton Gardens, London EC1N 8JR

5-27 September 2014

Charley Peters, September 2014

The smaller series, Spring Note (2012) and Summer Note (2014) felt unfortunately dwarfed by the larger paintings, and it’s questionable as to whether they added anything to the exhibition as a whole. Like many series their presence had value when seen in relation to each other, rather than as individual works in their own right. The scale of the paintings resulted in the spatial forms experienced in the two-metre canvases being reduced to small, almost calligraphic references – not a criticism in itself, but comparatively they lacked the strength of presence of the large works. Although displaying the same precision and aptitude for colour, these more diminutive pieces lack the impact and power to engage than the three larger paintings, remaining in their shadows rather than making their own statement.

The exhibition was dominated by three large, vibrant paintings made in 2014, in addition to two smaller series of works on canvas. The three large paintings were the most impressive works in the exhibition. Homage á Henri made obvious references to the recent show of Matisse’s cut-outs at Tate Modern. It shared the energetic colour palette of Matisse’s late collages, which resulted in a dynamic display of animated forms through careful juxtapositions of colour. Jackson applies her paint with a palette knife, which results in an unexpectedly physical experience when seen first hand. The subtle ridges of paint formed by Jackson’s knife were another reminder of the gentle torn or cut paper edges of what Matisse described as ‘carving into colour’.

Jackson’s work employs the grammar of geometry to produce vivid suggestions of dimensional space. Inspired by architecture and art history, she uses an economical formal language to make paintings that confuse the flat surface of modernist space through an optical investigation of saturated colour. Each over two metres in height, the large works in Rough Cut and Faceted presented the viewer with a series of immersive spatial contradictions. The geometric forms in Jackson’s paintings reference a geometric exploration of implied, but not fully resolved spaces: her paintings relying on our visual perception to read constructed form as equally tangible and transient.

Rough Cut and Faceted presented a strong vision of Vanessa Jackson’s current practice. Although regrettable that there were only three of the large paintings to appraise, the exhibition evidenced a coherent line of enquiry that I look forward to seeing develop in subsequent shows of Jackson’s work.

Vanessa Jackson, Rough Cut and Faceted (2014), Marcelle Joseph Projects

Vanessa Jackson Homage á Henri, 2014, oil on canvas, 213cm x 183cm

Vanessa Jackson, Summer Note I-VII, 2014, oil on canvas, 26cm x 20cm

Vanessa Jackson, Lighten Up, 2014, oil on canvas, 26cm x 20cm

Rough Cut and Faceted presented recent works by painter Vanessa Jackson in a temporary exhibition space in Hatton Garden, curated by Marcelle Joseph Projects.

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