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Emerging Talents

Jack McGarrity

18 June – 11 July

Exhibition goes live at 10am on 18 June
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Jack McGarrity trained at the Glasgow School of Art, close to where he grew up in the West of Scotland, before moving to London to start at the Royal Drawing School. His works on paper are a hybrid of painting, drawing and collage of small everyday moments mixed with the high drama of cinema and the ambiguity of memory.

At the root of Jack’s practice is observational drawing. He makes quick sketches of anything that catches his eye when walking around London, in his home, the studio, flitting through magazines or old catalogues, or watching films and TV.

‘I think I’m usually just interested in things that look just a fraction out of place. Kind of the ‘uncanny valley’ idea. I’m drawn to quite mundane things even in quite fantastical films. I’m becoming more and more interested in the power objects have to represent human experience’

Back in the studio he picks out promising sketches to develop it into larger works. His methods of making are as various as his sources, working with gouache, pastel, oils, coloured pencils and collage.

Drawing from the old masters in museums is crucial to his practice. A residency at the Prado in Madrid two years ago spent drawing from Goya and Ribera was formative and since moving to London he regularly visits the National Gallery to draw from their collection. Jack has an instinctive and notably contemporary handling of material and colour but the time spent making detailed drawings of old master work underlines his current practice. His compositions and remarkably confident draughtsmanship are grounded in this discipline.

Jack joins a great tradition of story telling in paint and can be seen as part of a revival of figurative painting in contemporary practices.

Since 2016 we have supported an annual emerging talent programme that champions artists at the beginning of their career. The programme has seen four years of burgeoning talent grow into established creative strength with Messums and elsewhere.