There is something inexcusably British about it
A British artist has descended the art scene, and I don’t mean any of those transient guest biennale artists. Along with him, in a chic temporary exhibition space in Tiong Bahru, are works combining humour, political aspirations and the critique of modes and fashion of painting. The works possibly represent the artist’s aspirations for an out-of-this-world experience and perhaps our own.
Jack Youngblood is best described as the alter-ego of British painter, Martin Constable. Alter-egos are best understood as persona taken on by British comedians that are larger than life, like Lily Savage (Paul O’Grady), or Mr. Bean (Rowan Atkinson). They perhaps offer a non-sensical logic to a seemingly sense-ful world, breaking monotony and offering entertainment. American entertainment seem be like truer than life TV programmes.
A portrait painter by most part of his artistic practice, this foray into digital painting is an eye-opener for traditionalist viewers.Digital painting, can just be excruciatingly time consuming and require just as much skill in manipulation with the added dimension of complicated inkjet printing. The prints here were well executed, brilliant in tone and colour, working well with the composition and method of temporary display.
The exhibition consists of a few drawings, digital paintings, an oil painting and a video perhaps central to the work. The central theme of the exhibition shows an image of an astronaut, possibly a self-portrait of the artist, repeated profusely in the first painting, an artist-astronaut and a Japanese nude in a digital garden of Eden; the large 2metre tall oil painting, and two tiny drawing studies for 2 other digital paintings. The figure of the artist as astronaut possesses the kind of humour Gavin Turk would be agreeable to or FHM might promote as a kind of laddism. The video shows an image of Neil Armstrong, ‘decaying’ showing the slow process of digital manipulation to the image, eroding ‘flesh’ to the bone. The final image of a rag and bones Armstrong is repeated in an accomplished oil painting, as large as the artist’s self-portrait next to it. It almost feels that the artist, bearing pride in his nationality has in the painting the badge of the union Jack, a Goldsmiths College emblem, a Mr. Bean teddy bear and the artist spotting scruffy beard feels left out of the space race. China and the US of A seem to be making headlines quite a bit. The work could also be a significant marker for the painters departure from tradition, and into the unknown territory of digital painting, a relatively new means of art making here in Singapore. Deviant Art users will very much find the works here tasteful, sophisticated and multi-faceted if you allow it. If Art gave an insight into the lives and artists’ time, we would find that more meaningful than grubbing on the question ‘Is photoshop, art?’
Other works in the same series can be seen at: (http://www.jackyoungblood.co.uk/)
59 eng hoon st #03-57
(tiong bahru estate) till October 1st.
3.5 of 5 stars