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Bill Jacklin: Paintings and Monotypes. 30 May – 30 June 2019

Bill Jacklin in his studio, copyright Bill Jacklin, courtesy Chris Craymer and Marlborough Fine Art, London
Bill Jacklin in his studio, copyright Bill Jacklin, courtesy Chris Craymer and Marlborough Fine Art, London
Bill Jacklin in his studio, copyright Bill Jacklin, courtesy Chris Craymer and Marlborough Fine Art, London

Marlborough Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of recent works by Bill Jacklin, an artist who has shown with the gallery for almost 40 years.

On show will be 20-25 paintings and a selection of monotypes. Although mainly figurative in presentation, many of the works show underlying systems and abstractions of design, harking back to Jacklin’s earlier style which focused on the structures within natural orders. In his work there is a coexistence of representation and abstraction, provoking a tension which results in an augmented viewing experience. The artist seeks to avoid stylistic categorisation, stating ‘I choose not to define myself to working in just one way’.

Jacklin came to prominence in the 1960s in London as an abstract artist producing works made of grids and dots. Despite his success, Jacklin felt impelled to return to figuration, and since moving to Manhattan in 1985 has painted numerous scenes of the pulsating energy of crowds in Times Square and the concourse of Grand Central Station. For this exhibition, Jacklin has created ‘The Singer in the Square’ series, focusing on the concentric movement of crowds, and has continued to paint pedestrians crossing the street. Time spent sketching in the Piazza della Repubblica in Florence, Italy also yielded this sense of flux and flow, observing accidental meetings or individuals simply going about their business. Jacklin is fascinated by states of transition and finding systems of geometry in his painting to depict this constant movement. This is evident in his Triptych painting ‘The Feast’, which the artist has been working on since 2004, shows a seated group eating in a Venetian square whilst a crowd passes around them.

Moving away from urban landscapes to more pastoral scenes, this interest in transformative states manifests in the artist’s depiction of nature and the weather. In a new series of storm paintings, the storm morphs into the knitted shapes of the clouds which shed their representational character and become moving forms devoid of a pictorial setting. A collection of paintings called ‘The Dance of the Clouds and Breezes’ are set by the coast, influenced by the artist’s move out of New York to Rhode Island. One shows a trio of female figures dancing, reminiscent of the artist’s earlier painting of the Three Graces; another canvas depicts small figures watching the movement of the clouds and the sea from the beach. Recent monotypes focus on the stars and the sea by night, without the bright lights of the city. Regardless of whether a figure is portrayed, Jacklin always paints about being present in the space, evoking existential feelings via subjects such as a field at night or a road winding through the landscape.

Bill Jacklin, 'The Feast' (2019), triptych, 78 x 30 x 78 x 60 x 78 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Fine Art. Photograph by Boris Apple.
Bill Jacklin, ‘The Feast’ (2019), triptych, 78 x 30 x 78 x 60 x 78 x 30 in. Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Fine Art. Photograph by Boris Apple.

Jacklin was born in London in 1943 and studied graphics at Walthamstow School of Art, London (1960-61) before attending the Painting School at the Royal College of Art (1964-67). He was elected as a Royal Academician in 1991. His works are represented in collections worldwide including: British Museum (London); Tate (London); Victoria & Albert Museum (London); MoMA (New York); The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York); and Brooklyn Museum (New York). Museum of Modern Art Oxford held a retrospective of Jacklin’s work in 1992, and in 2016 the Royal Academy (London) held a survey show of Jacklin’s graphics from 1963-2016. He has participated in numerous exhibitions including at The Museum of Modern Art (New York, 1971), Musee d’Art Moderne (Paris, 1973) and Tate Gallery (London, 1981).

Bill Jacklin, ‘Dance of the clouds and breezes 1’, 2019, 50 x 55 in. Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Fine Art.
Bill Jacklin, ‘Dance of the clouds and breezes 1’, 2019, 50 x 55 in. Courtesy of the artist and Marlborough Fine Art.

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Written by Verónica López

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