Henry Jabbour: Traces Remain

13 August - 13 September 2020

International artist, Henry Jabbour was born in Beirut and educated at the New York Academy of Art. He graduated in 2015 with a master's degree in fine art and printmaking. Relatively new to the art world, his paintings display a vivid use of colour and exuberant execution. He paints the figure. His loosely-indicated, schematic images are integrated into a highly worked and abstracted paint surface, scattered with incidental markings and subtle gestures.

 

Jabbour uses strong colour, high in register and saturation, deploying it for expressive effect rather than descriptive purpose. His is a Mediterranean palette, almost 'Fauvist' in its intensity, characterised by shades, tints and tones of cerulean blue, lemon yellow, scarlet red, tangerine orange and viridian green.

 

The medium is brushed, smeared and dripped onto the canvas. Applied both thick and thin, the paint film is drawn on and dragged into, and, in places, is layered with impasto. The texture of the paint ranges from watery fluidity to a creamy consistency to a waxy stickiness. This lively and receptive surface registers the imprint of the painter's activity as he conjures up his fugitive images.

 

The ambiguous human characters are hard to know and grasp the meaning of. They are rendered in a generalised form, deliberately undifferentiated. Theirs is a fleeting presence, a temporary footprint. Going about their mysterious business: walking, carrying or contemplating, they are universal, idiomatic of the everyday, vehicles for the artist's painterly manipulations.

 

These elusive and sketchily-realised figures are glimpsed as if through a haze of sunlight. We shade our eyes to examine them. They live in a world of paint which both realises and obscures. There is something forensic and archaeological about these sumptuous, fragmentary paintings. The artist has made a site from which he retrieves and uncovers. Traces remain of his excavations.