Derek Marks and Jim Vernon first met at Goldsmiths College of Art in 1979 whilst studying on the BA Fine Art course. In their first year they worked adjacent to one another and shared the same ‘painting’ tutors: Burt Irvin, Basil Beattie, Elmer and Harry Thubron and John Bellany.
Fast forward some thirty five and more years later, that shared history remains an important part of their continued friendship and sense of connection to art and to each other’s work.
In 2015 Marks and Vernon with fellow artist John Crossley co-curated a large exhibition of painting, entitled Alignments at Espacio Gallery in East London which included their own work and that of six other artists. It was the first occasion in which they had exhibited together and now this exhibition marks another occasion. Finding curatorial reasons as to why Marks and Vernon are holding a joint exhibition seem inconsequential for what can be more relevant or important than to have a sense of camaraderie with a fellow painter. This exhibition is nothing if not a celebration of their shared history and belief in painting as a means of personal exploration and discovery.
DEREK MARKS depicts women in moments of crises and contemplation, either as a victim, perpetrator or somewhere in-between. The plight and situation of the women portrayed is given greater significance and emphasis by the pared-down environment they inhabit. Always sensitive to the movement and shape of the body and how paint energises rather than illustrates, Marks portrays the vulnerability and power of the human form and brings to his figures a genuine sense of psychological resonance.
JIM VERNON’S subtle and translucent acrylic paintings on paper derive in part from architecture, yet the controlled free flowing manner in which they are painted imbues them with an organic sense of life and being. The components of his work, comprising of individual bands of colour, form something more substantial and monumental. The delicate interactions of colour and the brilliant white paper ground that filters through Vernon’s controlled brushstrokes take us on a journey into a sensual and suggestive world of optical experiences.