What strikes you first about the works of Jack Beswick are the strong slabs of colour that dominate the space. There are clear references to hard edge landscape elements that have been abstracted, but more in the context of defiance. A bold sense of stubborn authority pervades over the more subservient postures of adjacent shapes, these rhythmic marks made not with a brush but Beswick’s preferred range of Harris paint guards, somewhat similar to a squeegee but three sided and blade like. Aesthetica spoke to Jack to find out more about his work and future plans.
A: Firstly, where do you draw your inspiration from in your artwork?
JB: Anything and everything, I am constantly looking, trying to see something that ignites a spark! It might be a conversation or the bright orange colour of a car I have just passed as simple and banal as that may sound. More often than not though it comes down to two places I visit and love. Achill Island off the N.W. coast of Ireland, and Northern Italy Como north to Venice, both simply stunning, that can’t help but influence and inspire.
A: You work with paint, how do you find this medium is suitable to express your artistic vision?
JB: I consider myself to be a painter first and foremost. It’s what I know best and trust in my feelings and emotions in conveying the right marks on the canvas. It’s the direct immediate expression that paint or any other liquid media gives. It has more versatility and permanence than other media such as film or performance, and to some degree installation. Where there becomes a time constraint placed on the audience.
A: What is the starting point for one of your works?
JB: It might sound obvious but much of my work is driven by the process, by that I mean there is always a predetermined start point of laying down layers of ground to add texture so that further layers ride over and allow these under layers to peep through, so I don’t necessarily need inspiration to start a work! However, usually after this is done is when the real inspiration tends to kick in, and create the confidence to move forward. The other key benefit in this process is ‘killing’ a stark white blank canvas.
A: A major theme for your works is landscape. Can you expand on this further? What is it that attracts you to focus on this area?
JB: Landscape has been a key theme in my work to date and continues to be, I love the process of fragmenting the elemental shapes and putting them back in some form of disorder that still retains the emotion and feeling for the land. Achill has this dramatic changing weather sometimes bleak and ferociously wild that pushes the landscape shape and colours to crazy extremes. This gives me the opportunity to further exaggerate and distort the proportions and colours of this stunning Island.
A: Do you work with any other artistic forms?
JB: Not to any serious degree, but I have played with Collage and like the idea of using different materials that have the same versatility and permanence as paint.
A: What do you have planned for the future?
JB: At the time of writing I shall be winging my way to Australia to see my youngest son. It is two years since my last trip there, and during that time I have been ruminating on a body of work that represents the cheerful laid back atmosphere that people associate with this vast country.
See Jack’s artwork in the current issue of Aesthetica out now www.aestheticamagazine.com/shop
Images courtesy Jack Beswick