By Theo Bennett
To quote its creator, “a juxtaposition of tension and intimacy” is one of the qualities that characterises the work of student artist, Jas Sykes. This sense of duality, of emotions at an odds with one another, comes across in her use of both hot and cold colours side by side, and in the boldness of the black outlines of her figures on top of the more washed out, murky background.
Intimacy is conjured in these paintings in the way that Jas depicts her subjects nude, anonymous and yet with lines, bumps and textures upon the body accentuated, breathing life into the figures. The lack of a face on either of these subjects removes any sense of identity and allows us to focus on the body itself, and urges us to look in different places to where we might be accustomed to with portraits to find ways of emotionally connecting with the paintings.
In spite of this, it’s hard not to feel a sense of melancholy and isolation when looking upon the image of the blue, faceless figure sitting, curled up, almost in a foetal position. These are feelings with which we’re all familiar. Whether intentional or not, I find something quite androgynous about this figure in particular, possibly allowing for a kind of universal relatability to the emotions expressed through its body language.
Jas’s art succeeds in coming across as fresh, being eye-catching with its employment of bright colours.
Come catch it in its full 1m x 1m glory at the Art in Mancunia exhibition at Antwerp Mansion on Thursday 9th May.
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