Messum’s Exhibition Catalogue 2013

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If you would like to view the catalogue for Jake Attree’s January 2013 solo show at Messum’s please click here.

For more images of works for sale please view our ‘Jake Attree Gallery’.

Herewith is the ‘Forward’ in the Exhibition catalogue by Kris Day, Gallery Director.

“It was seeing reproductions of three John Constable paintings in a magazine that solidified the 12-year old Jake Attree’s dedication to painting, indeed Constable’s statement that ‘there is no easy way of becoming a good painter, it can only be obtained by long contemplation and incessant labour’ rings especially true when viewing the collection of works selected for Jake’s inaugural exhibition with Messum’s. Each of the 53 works betrays intense observation at their core, worked on repeatedly over time until the image comes into focus. Or, as his fellow Yorkshiremen would put it, they display “good hard graft”.

Yorkshire’s unofficial capital and Jake’s birthplace, the city of York features heavily in this collection. Jake’s images take the viewer on a walking tour of York, through her medieval streets, over the River Ouse, and right up to the top of Britain’s largest gothic church, York Minster. Jake climbed the 275 steps to the Minster’s central tower several times to produce the series of paintings Views Across an Ancient City presented here, the red rooftops sprawling out towards the horizon abstracting in a way that recalls the grid-like compositions of Jake’s early influence Piet Mondrian and perhaps even the Roman mosaics made by the city’s founders. It is interesting to note that the artist’s current studio was once the site of the world’s largest textile factory an industry synonymous with York since the middle ages, further tying Jake’s life and work to the history of the city.

Despite these connections, Jake is far from a parochial artist, aiming to produce a vision of the north that is both elegant and eloquent. His studies of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and the affinity he feels towards the twentieth century painter Constant Permeke, show an artist determined to place himself in the broader context of northern European painting, absorbing and developing their use of golden light and earthy realism. Before his studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in the mid to late ’70s, Jake was tutored by Mike Knowles, himself a student of Frank Auerbach at the Slade. Auerbach’s work, along with that of Leon Kossoff, has likewise been assimilated into Jake’s technique, particularly in his use of thick impasto.

Jake talks about an “inevitability” in his work, as if, over time, the correct balance of form, texture and compositional structure will eventually emerge, the layers of paint worked on over and over again until the piece reaches its inherent conclusion. Jake Attree’s exhibition shows an artist with a sense of time, history and place that is linked intrinsically with his birthplace, and yet, aspires to connect universally. We hope you agree that his hard graft has paid off.”

Kristian Day – Gallery Director, Contemporary Art, Messum’s

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