David H. Jones


Through a process of painterly endeavour, a unity of surface is formed by related placements of colour, which float in uncertain spatial arrangements.

David Jones

David exhibited at Ace Space from 11 June – 9th September 2012

Newbury Weekly News Art Review

‘Hot Spots Cool Spaces’: exhibition of paintings by David H. Jones at Ace Space, Newbury

This hugely enjoyable show is all about the joy of colour and visual and spatial sensation, with painter David H. Jones exploring colour combinations, juxtapositions, complementarity and oppositions, along with patterns and textures, within the broad genres of formalism and abstraction. These painterly works are all acrylic on canvas, the hues saturated and vibrant, the scumbled surfaces giving a pleasurable materiality. Two large canvases, Within Without and Blue View, cool, calm and quiet, in blues, aquamarines and mauves, reference early abstract expressionism and are the jumping-off point for the rest of the show. Geometric colour fields are divided by thin red vertical lines like Barnett Newman’s ‘zips’, the delineations sometimes defined, sometimes softly blurred.

From this cool centre the show explodes into thrilling colour, which creates, unifies and resolves compositions, just as small abstracted motifs placed within colour fields unite surfaces. No surprise then, that Jones numbers among his influences Islamic ceramics and textiles, Roman mosaics and Indian fabrics. Arrangements initially appear somewhat random, but a kind of restless formalism gradually emerges, often playful and full of movement. Within these parameters the paintings exude a great variety of mood and atmosphere; calm, energised, frenetic, constrained. In Hot Spots on Yellow Orange, a surface of small coruscating blue and green motifs, jewel-like in their intensity, lie on the surface, piercing the eyes. In two smaller canvases, Hot Spots on Red and Hot Spots on Orange, the mark-making is dense and compacted, creating a dynamic visual effect. In Tumble on Red Orange, bright, gently whirling marks float over the ground on their soft, amoebic ‘sacs’; in Circulating on Yellow Orange the lozenge shapes have more urgency and movement. There are four small, intense, tightly composed canvases. In Rotation on Green and Rotation on Crimson, small, concentrated elements, exuding circular movement, seem to both pin down the ground and seek to escape it. The forms in Rotation on Mars Red and Rotation on Blue, are fewer and less packed, suggesting freer movement within the compositions. The paired Yellow Oranges and Red Oranges, their grounds of subtly different blues, play with colour harmonies; rows of shapes appear to ‘dance’ over the surface.

In three large poetic canvases, Placements on Blue 1, Placements on Yellow and Placements on Blue 2, there is a regularity and formality to the placement of marks, but it is less defined; this diffuseness and more ample spacing give the works a dreamy, haunting quality. In Crush, a mesh of amorphous forms overlays a purple/cerise ground, like a web of drifting interconnected islands: a mesmeric, dreamy, soft whole.

The exhibition, in the bar at Ace Space, can be seen by all those attending events, and by arrangement with the artist. It runs until 9 September.