1st Class Hons in Fine Art at the University of Gloucestershire,
Working predominantly in oils and acrylics, Jacob Gourley is a Wirral/Liverpool based painter whose practice explores the boundaries between realism and abstraction. Forming the bedrock of Jacob’s practice is the awareness of the central roles that the formal qualities play, such as shape, tone, edges, colour and composition. His interest in the materiality of painting drives his practice in making work that integrates a range of painterly techniques into a single piece.
With a social documentary, yet often surreal, quality to his work, he finds his greatest source of inspiration from paying mindful attention to the mundane, routinely overlooked moments of the everyday. Environments associated with public transport, i.e buses and bus stops, trains and train stations etc, spaces in which people are ‘in-between’ places, provide a rich subject matter. In addition to the visual qualities of these spaces, Jacob is interested in the psychological and emotional spaces that the people within them inhabit.
Accompanying this narrative aspect, the paintings have an uncanniness, wandering the psychological territory between intimacy and voyeurism. This gives them a quiet & reflective feel, yet simultaneously one which is slightly uncomfortable and at times even sinister.
A lighter side to Jacob’s practice is plein air landscape and flower painting, which seeks to employ classical principles in a contemporary idiom.
An unusually developed sense of history…
Gourley is a young artist, but one with an unusually developed sense of history. As a twenty-first century artist he is alert to the bewildering nature of our image-saturated digital culture and its challenges to our senses of identity and reality.
However, in defiance of the dominant electronic media of our times, he stubbornly continues to make paintings. Furthermore, these paintings, which thoughtfully address our contemporary condition, are informed by a fascination with the frescoes and myths of antiquity as well as the avant-garde experiments of twentieth-century Modernism.
Gourley’s unique integration of past and present, his meditations on myth and reality, result in work that is thought provoking, relevant and beautiful. His achievements to date promise much for the future.
Richard Salkeld ~ Senior Lecturer, History University of Gloucestershire