About a year ago, Julian Bell, Tom Hammick and Andre Jackowski held what was billed as a joint exhibition – Dreams of Here at Brighton Museum. In the event the result was more like three separate exhibitions; not only were the three artists in separate rooms but even of the colour of the walls of the rooms were different. So when Hammick and Patrick Adam Jones were invited hold an exhibition together at the Baker Mamonova Gallery in St Leonards, the two artists were keen that the exhibition should be a dialogue. When I visited Map this weekend, the paintings in the window gave an initial impression that they might have succeeded. Inside it was clear that whilst the pair might have arrived at the party together, once there, they merely nodded politely at each across the room rather than engaged in deep discussion.
It was hardly surprising; their styles are very different. Tom Hammick’s are the more representational; shacks, gardens and people, particularly his wife and daughter, frequently feature in his works and while the viewer may not immediately understand all the thinking that goes into the painting, they will have a fair idea of what it that they are looking at. In contrast, Patrick Adam Jones works are often layered and the details may be partly obscured so that the complexity only becomes apparent through study. Hammick chooses bright, bold, vibrant colours – he achieves some wonderful blues and purples; Adam Jones frequently favours shades of white and near white and works in wax which give the works an extraordinary translucency. They come together to some extent in the size of the works and, in this exhibition, there was supposedly the link of the map, though it was somehow rather hard to spot: Adam Jones sometimes uses maps as a base for his works and with Hammick the works are – well – loosely connected to places – but then aren’t most things?
It was interesting to see how the artists had developed over the last year. Hammick’s works were familiar; the subject matter and colours were those one has come to expect. They included the woodcut of the Exon filling station and the painting Compound which both appeared at Brighton last year and an extremely desirable print Edgelands, which has also appeared before in different colour combinations – all classic Hammick works. There were also some new paintings, on a smaller scale than I had seen hitherto, including Orchard a simple but beautifully coloured painting of a ladder against a tree and Island Study.
Adam Jones had a number of his wax based paintings in the exhibition, such as Inside, shown below. I like the way with these works that you can see different elements in different lights.
There was a departure in the highly complex piece, Of Course, a large mixed media piece, involving a collection of works on paper behind glass on which he had applied a series of digits.
It was interesting and I was intrigued by the way the digits were more evident against some of the backgrounds than against others; this was a work which needed time appreciate the different elements. I particularly liked the way that the numbers gave the impression of the passing of time. But, probably annoyingly since it must have taken ages to create, some of the water colours impressed me as much – there was a series of nine that worked extraordinarily well together.
There were some of the familiar words which Adam Jones has used in many of his paintings – I could have been a farmer but these little paintings which had clearly been done quickly had a freshness and somehow a sense of mystery which made you want to study them and which I really liked. So it appears do other people; three had been bought already; I predict it will not take long before the others are gone as well.
Map is showing at the Baker Mamonova Gallery in 43-53 Norman Road, St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex until June 1.