Much more than simple responses, Cornish-born Jason Lilley’s paintings engender a discourse between his own reaction to the physical, political and spiritual condition of his native county, and the perceptions of those who now claim the county as their own. Painting increasingly in oil (yet retaining the graphite element of a long period which employed elements of abstraction using watercolour and acrylics overlaid by pencil lines), Jason Lilley’s paintings look like an individual yet characteristic interpretation of the familiar roofs, streets and coastline around St.Ives. However, the work contains an underlying narrative based on the artist’s concerns for Cornwall and the Penwith area in particular. Narratives are implied through composition, handling of media, visual clues and picture titles. But it is on an aesthetic level that the work finds its clearest appeal, where a developed and direct ease of line leads the eye around considered, sometimes studious, compositions. This facility with line is finding expression in the etchings and aquatints that now constitute a significant part of his output.*
The interlocking irregularity of Lilley’s St.Ives skylines, in taking Nicholson’s or Haughton’s mid-century rhythmic architecture into a new century, reveals artistic continuity and the safe-guarding of a townscape protected by restrictions of natural geography and local planning regulations.
Lilley’s townscapes are thus both documentary and improvisatory in character, relying on a balance between naturalistic and plastic, descriptive and abstract factors.**
* Catalogue for “The Cornish Connection” show Belgrave Gallery, London
** Extract from Peter Davies’ book “St.Ives 1975-2005: Art Colony in Transition
Studied at Falmouth School of Art (1986-87) and Newcastle upon Tyne (1987-90). Returned to Cornwall 1991. Member of Penwith Society of Arts (2013).Associate member of St.Ives Society of Artists (2013)