This exhibition, Mr Jago’s first at Unit London, showcases a new body of work in oil - a first for Jago -, acrylic and spray paint on canvas which has been made especially for NIL. Always pushing the boundaries of what constitutes street art, Jago’s work has undergone a process of evolution in recent years; the droid like figures of his early works replaced in this new series with an abstract and very modern response to the great tradition of landscape painting.
Jago’s abstract landscapes explore the complex relationship between humankind and the natural world; the vivid colours and textures he employs are both suggestive and open-ended, illustrating an underlying tension that runs throughout his work. It is ultimately up to the viewer to decide whether his works signal hope or despair. The exhibition title, NIL, reflects the faith that Jago places in his viewer:
“…this tension is what is beautiful about abstraction; the image that one person interprets as a depiction of humankind’s conquest of nature may appear to another as a depiction of nature’s triumph. My work is capable of being both, and illustrates my struggle between crushing pessimism and soaring optimism for what the future holds. It is the haze that hangs over the horizon; the luminescence of oil on water… Equally, it is a glorious sunset; the bloom of spring flowers on a barren landscape. It is up to the viewer whether the works evoke hope or despair.”
Jago’s work has been a source of continued interest from those within the urban art community and beyond. As a founding member of the Scrawl Collective, Jago has worked with Sony Music, Swatch and other international brand names, and developed his reputation as a leading urban artist. Most recently, his work caught the eye of Keith Griffiths, founder of leading architectural firm Aedas, who this year commissioned Jago to produce a mural for their new London head office, as well as canvases for Griffiths’ boutique art hotel, Penrhiw in St Davids Wales.
To coincide with the exhibition, Unit London also commissioned Mr Jago to produce a large mural in the gallery’s downstairs incubator space, a teaser of which can be viewed here.