The Redfern Gallery presents an in-depth curated exhibition of works on canvas and paper from 1984—2010, including two monumental paintings, and a special selection of works in watercolour and ink on paper, many onview for the rst time. The artist’s mastery of colour and form is fully evidenced in the three major-scale canvases:Phenomena When Odin Fell 1992, Phenomena Oracle Reckoning 2007 (shown above) and Phenomena Out of Sight2010. Phenomena Oracle Reckoning and Phenomena Out of Sight, painted when the artist was 84 and 87 yearsof age respectively, have never been shown outside the artist’s studio and are high water marks in his prodigiousachievements of the late years. The works on paper provide a selected view of the last two decades of his lifelongcommitment to working in watercolour as well as in ink. Often overlooked in the body of the artist’s oeuvre with itsdominance of radiant colour, the black and white works on paper provide an intimate view both in scale and in scope of this sustaining aspect of his art.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by art historian and author, Gail Levin,who lifts the veil beyond the “spectacular color, dramatic light, movement and forms” of the artist’s abstract worksto “delve into the aesthetic passions of their maker.” Entitled Paul Jenkins, Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Asian Af nities, theessay explores Jenkins’ early and longstanding engagement with Asian art, from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, to Frank Lloyd Wright, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Gutai, and continuing throughout the artist’s lifetime.
A signi cant discovery was made during the preparation of the catalogue essay. The source for a 1944 watercolour of a Kabuki actor, painted by the artist at the age of 21, can now be identi ed as a print by Katsukawa Shunkō dated 1786 in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. What makes this discovery so striking is thatthe watercolour unmistakably shows Jenkins introducing early on his own distinctive colour palette, as well as a liquid wash of pigment, both indicators of the direction his abstract art would take.