Jake Wood-Evans: Subjection and Discipline
Subjection and Discipline is the name of the first major exhibition of works by painter Jake Wood-Evans, which is currently on show at Unit London. This trendy art gallery on Wardour Street in Soho was founded in 2013 by artists Joe Kennedy and Jonny Burt, as a hub for art lovers and collectors of all levels of interest and expertise.
Jake Wood Evans’ fascination with the works of the old masters continues in a series of paintings that, as previously, rework the famous originals (here exclusively British painters), which seem, like forgotten memories lost to history, to materialise faintly from the black canvas, more felt than seen. However, whereas before the artist’s pieces managed to synthesise the original, in the midst of the impressionistic brushes of colour, to locate and focus on those details that were the original master’s raison d’etre – such as the penetrating gaze and shimmering silk of Velasquez’s Pope Innocent X, or the ruby lips beneath a coquettish nose in Rembrandt’s Portrait of a Young Woman – this time the impression is one more akin to violence and vandalism. Faces are scratched out or appear as if melting, like ghoulish ghosts in a gothic horror novel.
According to the exhibition’s introduction, the viewer should be compelled to question history, and the pieces could perhaps be seen as attempting to comment on the ugly and unglamorous truth behind the polished veneer of the history of the British Empire: the scarlet jacket in Portrait of an African Gentleman, for example, appears almost as blood smeared across the lower half of the painting. Jake Wood-Evans’ art does succeed in adding a more palpable sense of the aura otherwise locked up within the sheen of the original’s academic precision, and invites an interesting dialogue between the past and the present. Yet at the same time one can’t shake an irresistible desire to reach in through the mist and pull out the glimmering spectacle of the first painting, prompting one rather to abandon the exhibition for the true Stendhal effect to be enjoyed when viewing the glittering old masters on display at the museum.
Jake Wood-Evans: Subjection and Discipline is at Unit London from 19th August until 11th September 2016, for further information visit here.
For further information about Jake Wood-Evans visit here.