Raoul Coombes and JJ Morgan
7 — 28 Feb 2017 at Gallery 286 in London, United Kingdom
Although both painters differ widely in their subject matter, the idea of transition transfuses both their work. Hovering between the boundaries of abstraction and representation, this ranges from landscapes to inner worlds: bridges and corridors; an enfilade of rooms; metamorphosing ephemeral beings.
For painters JJ Morgan and Raoul Coombes, the liminal state resonates because of its connection with the process of making art: the blank canvas slowly gives up its painting; the surface becomes marked with line and colour; a threshold is crossed and a journey begins that is only resolved when the painting is finished. Of course, this resolution is only transitory. It is a step along the way of a much longer journey of self-exploration both personally and as artists.
For Raoul Coombes, recent years have seen a greater freedom to pursue his love of painting as his time spent on Cancer Research reduces. And this shift , coupled with his move near the river at Hammersmith, can be seen in his paintings. Liberated from scientific constraints and often working outdoors, Raoul’s technique has developed to meet the demands of local conditions, becoming more immediate and more responsive to his visual imagination. The weather has necessitated an altered, more immediate and sudden style as he often works impasto and with a more confined palette.
His work is still in a transitional state and has yet to land fully formed, preferably in a quiet field in open countryside.
JJMorgan is a sculptor turned painter and this shows in her approach to the materiality of paint. She explores its fragility through extemporised gesture and this lends her work an impermanent quality. Drawn to themes of transition/transformation from both the natural and imagined worlds, she builds up thin washes of paint and leaves traces of previous brushstrokes (pentimenti) to convey life's ephemerality.
Following a BA in sculpture (at London's City&Guilds Art School) she completed an MA in Painting in 2014. At College she won the overall prize for sculpture for her year as well as the Fishmongers' Beckwith Scholarship and the Tussauds Project Fund Award.
Jonathan Ross’s Gallery 286 is situated in a Victorian terraced house in London’s Earl’s Court and has been the location for a programme of contemporary art featuring emerging and mid-career artists since 1998. Raoul Coombes, a family friend was one of the first to show there and this is his third exhibition at 286, the second with JJ Morgan.