After recent solo exhibitions in São Paulo and Copenhagen, four of James Jessop’s finest works will see their UK debut at High Roller Society, the newest gallery to London’s progressive East end. Titled BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, this solo show reveals Jessop’s trademark style: large-scale spoof horror paintings that present a visual feast of transcribed B-movie posters, 60s sex/sleaze paperback book covers, and 1980s New York subway graffiti. The exhibition launches on Friday, 19 March 2010, with the release of a limited edition 5 colour screen print based on his notorious King Kong painting series.
Jessop burst into the London art scene in 2004 with terrifying impact at Charles Saatchi’s infamous New Blood exhibition which featured an epic 5 metre-long panoramic painting entitled Horrific. Since then, Jessop‘s repercussions have continued with bigger and bolder studio work and a consistently strong dual street presence through his own rigorous dealings in graffiti. “My whole life has been mixing up graffiti with high art,” he states, “the message in my work is to make a painting that has huge impact”. Jessop feeds off of his obsession with certain sub-cultural movements, such as graffiti and drum n’ bass, the energy of which fuels his work, regardless of where it is executed. “It is never ending, I love this way of life, painting everyday, doing graffiti at night… I am living my dream.”
A graduate of the Royal College of Art, Jessop’s energy is nonetheless skillfully controlled and highly focussed. Every minute area in each of his paintings is considered in order to achieve the best visual effects. Varied impasto textures, fluid brush strokes, vibrant colour combinations, and delicate glazing techniques are executed differently throughout each piece, and help to emphasize the texture of every element in the composition. Jessop’s painting approach and many of his intertwined components are clearly influenced by key movements throughout art history such as the Renaissance, the Baroque, and Futurism. Yet, like a B-movie needs junk food, Jessop’s cross-movement style integrates Uni Posca paint pens, spray-can effects, and the familiarly bizarre imagery of popular culture.
Jessop’s big-screen works were recently part of the Animals Contemporary Visions exhibition held at the Martini Arte Internazionale in Turin, where he was subsequently invited to be the 2010 Artist in Residence at the Cultural Centre Cesare Martini, in Cavagnolo, Italy. Before undertaking this venture later in the year, James Jessop’s frightfully astonishing selection of works to date will be showcased at High Roller Society until 24 April.