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Artist talks to audience in gallery

Jason discusses his colourful and complex painting.

Aaron Eastwood is a final year English student at the University of Liverpool and is currently volunteering with us in the press office. Yesterday he went along to the Walker Art Gallery to catch the last of the John Moores artist talks. Here is what he made of it:

Local artist Jason Thompson’s painting, ‘Refractions (Robert Hooke)’, stands proudly in this year’s John Moores Painting Prize as the first piece made by a National Museums Liverpool employee to be chosen for exhibition!

Jason himself visited the gallery yesterday to talk about his work, explaining the creative processes involved in the conception and production of his work.

The distinct painting is small yet powerfully visual. Bold, angular lines of enamel paint emanate strikingly from the plywood background. These ‘threads of colour’ as Jason put it, criss-cross and intertwine over many layers. It was fascinating to hear that Jason’s creative methods are based on ‘random, intuitive mark-making’ and I really got the sense that Jason truly believes in and enjoys the long, natural processes involved in his artwork. He only works with ‘found’ objects, including the paints he works with. As a result he never mixes colours, so all his colours are chosen rather than manipulated in the mixing process, which adds to the earthly feel of the work and shows just how much effort goes into each piece.

One keen audience member commented that a friend’s child, on viewing the painting, had exclaimed that he just wanted to ‘reach out and grab the painting to see if the colourful sticks would move.’ I thought this was an excellent observation: the painting, although static, seems in constant motion and has a very inviting, tactile quality.

Jason further explained that the reference in the painting’s title to the natural philosopher Robert Hooke had no explicit representational meaning but was meant to evoke comparisons to the natural evolutionary processes involved in the formation of living things.

We’re all very proud of Jason’s achievement in the exhibition – well done!