Patrick and I were painting in a shared studio with several other artists in 2018, the year that Patrick’s dad died. When the news came it seemed sad and unfair because, at 30, Patrick was the youngest person there. His painting had been going well and he always put the hours in, but I thought the loss of his dad might knock him off course, at least for a bit. Maybe he’d take time away from the studio and then, when he was ready, he’d return to his painting and pick up where he’d left off. Looking back, that seems a naïve assumption – as if the process of grieving and the process of painting would be so neatly separate.
As it went, the work never stopped, the paintings continued to be made, and his grief showed up gradually, not in his demeanour, but in the pictures themselves, canvas by canvas. In the years since, his colours have tended to be fewer, some darker, some less saturated. He has dialled up the tension between image and surface texture, so much that increasingly his forms appear to be emerging from an ongoing struggle between clogged accretion and scraped-back erasure, with fragments of line-drawing caught in the fray. None of this was an over-night change, but some characteristics have come insistently to the fore, and they are all evident in After Dad.
So, the paintings have become more sombre – sometimes even dour – but they are never dull. Grief’s grinding ache finds form here as austere high-drama and stark elegiac elegance. Where there is darkness it is exhilaratingly bleak, and kept in motion by tumbling visual rhythms, plunging submersion, and vertiginous ascent. Always, the creatures that swim, flock, and stampede through the paintings are drawn with the same empathy and fascination as the single human heads, suggesting that they – and we – are in it together.
- Matt Lippiatt 2022
Patrick H Jones (b. 1987) London, UK, lives and works in London. Recent exhibitions include Reconfigured (curated by Rose Easton), Timothy Taylor, New York, 2021; Frieze London w/ The Sunday painter, London, 2021; Limbes, galeriepcp, Paris, 2021; Turps Banana final show, Turps Banana, London, 2019; DREAMTIGERS, The Gallery Soho, London, 2018; Juggle, Plaza Plaza, London, 2018; SET 24, The Art Academy, London, 2018; Artist of the Day 2018 – Group Show, Flowers Gallery, London, 2018; New Contemporaries, South London Gallery, London, 2018.