Both Yorkshiremen, Jake Attree and David Blackburn each work in a highly specialised technique that tests the very limits of their chosen medium. Yet the two artists share more than geography. Blackburn's lush, velvety pastels and Attree's sculptural oils may differ in tone and technique, but their work shares a common language, which lies between poetry and reason. Uniting substance and symbol, their distinct techniques evoke more than the appearance of their subject; they suggest what might lie beneath its surface.
Jake Attree's work hints at the inner life of his figures and city. The high impasto surfaces of his studies of York Minster draw the viewer in like a garden maze, leading us down medieval streets and suggesting a city so ancient that we will never fully know it. His oil pastels appear more translucent, like film stills shot in diffused light. These images seem to be frozen in time, hinting at a deeper meaning beneath every face and landscape, which we can only begin to grasp if the world slows down around us.
Having lived in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s, Blackburn found the outback so antithetical to European landscape that it completely freed him from traditional concepts of the genre. His glowing pastels challenge the hierarchies of horizon line and human viewpoint, shifting between macro and microscopic perspectives. Illustrated as a series of elements re-shaped to assert “the relationship between the unnoticed and the infinite”, in his work landscape becomes a symbol of metamorphosis and a portal to the divine.
This exhibition will be held simultaneously with an exhibition in Yorkshire, The Elemental North at Brooksbank School (20th – 30th January), which will feature work by talented sixth-formers (and recent alumni) alongside paintings by Jake Attree and pastels by David Blackburn. More than an exhibition, this show will also give students the chance to experience every facet involved in promoting and selling art.
All of the works are priced for sale and the exhibition is supported by a fully illustrated catalogue with texts by Mr McCallion, Ms Lumb and Messum's Founder and Chairman, David Messum.