Jason Tessier’s debut solo show ‘Can’t Reach Me There' opened at Rhodes Contemporary on January 20th.
Tessier’s large-scale abstract works have a well-balanced charm - aesthetically punchy but not transparently commercial; clearly linked to a 100+ year history of abstract art but not over-intellectualised or mimicking; his colour palette harmonious but with a distinct kick.
The London-based artist works on multiple works at any given time, helping him to ground his practice and trust in his physical mark-making impulse. ‘Can’t Reach Me There’ is his first solo show, but the young artist has already featured in several group shows, publications including Elle Decoration and Grazia Magazine, and has been part of the Travers Smith Art Award Programme in both 2021 - 2022 and 2015 - 2016.
We had the opportunity to ask Tessier about the show, his predictions for the future of the London art scene, and what he hopes his audiences get out of their interactions with his work.
Hi! I'm Jason Tessier, an abstract painter living and working in London. I create colourful abstract paintings that explore the language of painting and experiment with the materialistic properties of the canvas and the mediums placed upon it. My works engage with both the visual and physical elements of paintings.
What does 'Can't Reach Me There' represent for your career so far?
'Can't Reach Me There' is my debut solo show and features a new body of paintings which I've been creating over the past year. This show definitely represents a new level of growth for me as an artist, particularly in terms of my confidence as a painter. After a variety of experiments and shifts within my works over the years, I feel like my work has progressed to a point where I'm able to direct it and not it directing me. It feels like quite a natural progression and one that's allowed me to produce the work I have on display at this show.
What has led you to this style and body of work?
I've been creating abstract paintings ever since I graduated my BFA in 2015, however my style was a bit all over the place whilst I was getting to grips with what I wanted to produce. Over the years I've noticed my work has become more refined and I now have a process in the studio to how the paintings are created. Having this structure when creating paintings has allowed for the work to flourish and I'm able to test out new ideas and developments.
One more recent development in my work, which is showcased in this exhibition, is the use of borders and framing. My work has always had an element of framing to it, something I've found is key to creating the right balance when mapping the gestural shapes and marks on the canvas. Incorporating a physical visual border has allowed for an additional layer of separation and a disruption to the white space on the canvas. It's a really interesting development within the works and I'm excited to see where I can take it with future paintings.
What do you think the future of abstract art is?
I've heard whispers that abstract art is coming back into fashion in the art world, so I'm excited to see how this translates in future exhibitions and to see what other abstract artists are creating. I think the artworld has only just scratched the surface of abstract art and there's plenty more to come.
What do you think the future of the London art scene is? Are there any trends you think are coming in hard right now?
Recently I've noticed a big shift in the amount of art studios locations across London. I myself am currently in a situation where my studio will be knocked down at the end of the year and the site redeveloped. I've seen this happen to 3 other studio locations in the last few months so I'm curious to see what disruption this will have on the art scene, as there's going to be a lot of artists bouncing around temporary studios who will struggle to pay the prices of these new build permanent studios. I've also seen a rise in the number of artists move out of London in order to be able to afford to keep their practice going. I hope that something changes and remaining affordable studio locations are protected, to allow the artist community in London to continue thriving.
What experience do you hope the viewer has with the work?
I really would like the viewer to spend time with the paintings. The works, upon initial viewing, can come across as simple and you think that you've seen the painting in its entirety upon your initial glance, but you notice upon spending more time with the paintings that more details in the work will start to emerge. The various layers of paint start to become visible and traces of underpaintings start to appear.
For information on available works in the show, email firstname.lastname@example.org