When is a painting not a painting? When it’s the work of Jonathan Gabb, a South London based artist who creates extraordinary 3D pieces by mixing PVA glue and acrylic paint to produce his wonderfully colourful work. At first glance it appears to be pretty playful, which it is, but there’s also a real bedrock of theory behind his pieces and his references range from rococo architecture to Art Nouveau to Damien Hirst and Wayne Thiebaud.
Jonathan’s solo show System opens today at London’s WW Gallery and came about after he won the inaugural SOLO award, part of the prize for which included a three month residency to make site-specific works for the gallery. HIs longstanding interest in toying with the painting process – and with viewers’ expectations – developed while he was art school and sprung from a desire to “make reference to the act of painting in the works.”
He says: "I want to stretch the material value of paint in a 3D form in a way which transforms it into something else – the paint is freed from a fixed surface and can be viewed as an object.
“Audiences have a greater understanding about art now and I want to show something that not only has a lot of thought put into it, but which is also enjoyable to look at. I think there is something very authoritative about the traditional method of painting, and I think that ties in with people’s expectations. With these works people engage with the material nature of the medium, more than the colour, in a way in which they usually wouldn’t with traditional painting.”
System runs until February 2.