Jack’s work currently explores the relationships between embodiment and liminal spaces, such as intergenerational memory and other states of in-between-ness. He approaches figurative work as a kind of remembering. From a distance, Jack's paintings are intimate and raw portraits, full of emotion, and honestly revealing of the human body. Up close, they are tactile celebrations of paint as a material, abstracted and overflowing with colour and texture.
Jack's tactile, almost sculptural use of paint allows for a layered and pixilated image to be built up within the strong colours and impasto strokes. His method of working is dynamic and quick; layers are added with a palette knife whilst the paint is still wet, and the larger works require the artist to stand a long way back from the canvas to see how the work is developing. The colours can be unexpected and contrasting, ranging from recognisable fleshy tones to fluorescent and pop-like hues. The thick skins of paint are a metaphor for the human skin - Jack sees the skin as a seal for holding our stories of resilience, and fragility, in response to the emotional, physical and spiritual experiences in our lifetime.
The act and language of painting appeals to Jack for its historical and human significance; an ancient technique, people have been mark-making to tell stories for over 40,000 years. Jack is interested in how we feel history within our bodies, and paints images of faces as a starting point to explore this. Jack explains that bodies, like the land, hold memories; land, like skin across bodies, holds onto the unfinished conversations of our ancestors, and that shapes the images we make and see. Jack uses the body as a type of scaffolding, to break down and build back up the painting, pushing his figures from the traditional language of portraiture, into abstraction.
In 2008, Jack was awarded an MFA with Distinction from Auckland's Massey University. Jack was shortlisted for London's BP Portrait Award Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in 2015, and was the winner of the People's Choice Award in the 2016 and 2017 Wallace Art Awards. His work can be found in public and private collections across New Zealand, Australia, and Europe.
Sunday Morning Interview, RNZ
Habitus Living Feature
Read online here.
Read online here.
Read T.J McNamara's NZ Herald review
of Medicinal Skins online here.