It is naïve to assume that vibrant colour is reserved to express only moments of utopian joy and beauty. Jack Trolove’s paintings are a case in point; washing a brilliant botanical colour scape over canvases drenched in weighty human emotion.
His paintings are an exhilarating marvel to behold, but the beauty of the colour does not diminish the intensity of the subject’s gaze, rather it illuminates and awakens it. Within the fat smear of exuberant pigment, Jack masterly – magnificently – expresses a subtlety of emotion, played out through tensions in tone and shade.
Upon graduating from Massey University with a distinction in fine arts, Jack was a finalist in the 2016 Wallace Art Awards and winner of the People’s Choice Award, as well as being short-listed for London’s BP Portrait Award. Jack’s work is recognised internationally in public and private collections across New Zealand, Australia and Europe.
Jack currently lives in Wellington, where his practice is based. His studio is a source of inspiration itself; a disused air force building on Shelly Bay, now converted into a light-filled and splattered painting space. Remarkably, Jack’s own grandfather used to dine within the officer’s mess, now invigorated with a mess of Jack’s own creation.
There is an overtly physical element to Jack’s work and practice. Paint is applied wet and thick, built quickly up and over itself to construct rather than merely illustrate the image. And the result is the projection of character that is rich and nuanced – something quite remarkable, cast from the rough strokes of pure abstracted colour.
The physicality of his work is extended onto his audience. From afar, his paintings delineate raw human emotion, whilst close up, they transition into tactile, sculptural works that celebrate the quality of the paint. His works, thus, invite a certain choreography from his viewers as they move closer in and further away.
Jack’s recent work, open for exhibition in August within Whitespace Gallery, Auckland, explores the physical body as an embodiment of more than its own flesh. His practice becomes an act of remembering, whereby memory is replicated via material, expressing a sense of almost-ness and in-between-ness in his work.
“I’m exploring the body’s skin as a seal for holding stories using thick skins of paint to create human skins that are shed, broken and resealed during a simultaneously figurative and abstracting painting process,” he says.
The palette knife bastes a ripe rainbow that shifts from expected fleshy tones to sudden fluorescent bursts. And up close, Jack’s work is a jellybean assortment of unadulterated colour. Yet, edging backwards, you can see the method to the madness, the careful hand guiding the coarse dashes of paint. And suddenly, the vibrancy of the colour transforms into manifestations of emotion – depicting human faces in all of their splendour, as well as their sadness.
Jack Trolove’s solo exhibition at Whitespace Gallery in Auckland opens September 26th 2017
Tue-Fri 11-5pm, Sat 11-4pm
12 Crummer Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
Words by Ella McDougall