J Louis: Subtle Fragments

23 January - 22 March 2020

The American artist J Louis is an accomplished painter of women. Their cropped and fragmentary images are strategically arranged to make dynamic and vibrant compositions. The subject is integrated into a formal schema of veils, skins and blocks of rich and subtle colour. The figure is described with a fluency of draughtsmanship; some passages are thoroughly articulated, while others are sketchily allusive. Delicately-rendered representations of flesh and hair contrast with the various textures of the surrounding painted surface.


These subjects exist in an abstract world, apart from a particular, pictorial context. There is a constant interplay between the rendering of realistic form and its combining with the graphic structure of the painting. The figurative element drives the creation of the space around it. Everything reacts to it. The body, and by extension, the personality of the sitter, asserts itself within this arena. The artist’s models, outwardly passive, are insistently part of the framework, essential to its existence. We start to notice their gaze and possible demeanour. These mysterious and enigmatic characters excite curiosity and point to stories independent of the fixed point of the painting. Who are they and what are they thinking?