Joshua Jenkins’ paintings draw on the personal, his soul laid bare as he faces the world and all its complexities, his pictures a self expression of that complexity, that confusion, the frustration that comes with moving through a life that demands of us our labour, our function and our acquiescence to the rules of the system.
This refutation, this tactile expression is self evident in his energetic markings and textural canvases, his use of acrylics, charcoal and graphite combined with rich and vibrant colours give depth to his vigorous sketching, each picture a layering of ideas and thoughts, moments that come to him and leave just as quick. All of it there, exposed for us to read into, understand, get a handle on. Much like a piece of music Jenkins creates phrases, seeks to capture the rhythm of a riff on the picture plane, his aesthetic driven by artists such as Picasso and Basquiat. Like them he seems to be searching for a language that is both personal yet tied to a universality, tribal motifs that we intuitively understand, that ties us to the earth, that bring us back to the fundamental questions of what it means to exist, live and feel the world around us.
Like many artists Jenkins is looking, exploring ways to articulate something which cannot be said. An expression of the soul, a visceral scream that demands to be heard, that says ‘I exist’. This overwhelming passion brings both anxiety and exhilaration to his paintings. He lays it all out. Nothing is hidden. His bones are there to be picked. It’s this honesty and truth that gives Jenkins paintings their unequivocal power. Here’s what he has to say about his work:
There are never any mistakes in art when you’re not creating art for the sake of illusion, I simply want to remind the viewer that what they are looking at is the sum of my many parts: the sketches, the paint itself, the mixed mediums, and the canvas, all overlaying the emotions of a human being who is as imperfect as the final piece.
Art to me is the soul’s response for communication. When I paint I get lost in the canvas, time passes and my mind turns. I find beauty in unabashed free strokes and spills of paint.