Jesse Leroy - Smith, exhibition at Tremeneere, near Penzance, Cornwall
24 May to 23 June 2019
As Jesse Leroy - Smith was giving a talk, I arrived half an hour earlier to take a view before hearing
|Bloody blue sky thinking|
|Chopin's vigil, we mash up.|
|Palmer White at the entrance|
|The dearly departed|
|Th good son|
Large paintings. They have images, heads, animals, lots of colour. It's about something, illness,
struggle, death, love, ceremonies? He can draw an attractive head
|Why this ceaseless coming and going?|
but the pictures are not done to
look attractive. They are messy, exuberant, their meanings unclear.
The talk lasts an hour.
Jesse Leroy -Smith can talk and tells us a lot about himself, his difficult last
7 years, separation from his partner, breakdown, reconciliation. He had a painful leg infection
caused by some combination of paint and glue, cured by antibiotics.
A teacher of art, he decided he needed some mentoring himself and allowed the critic Sacha
Caraddock, who he asked to take on this role, to edit, to suggest using a different format, doing a
frieze, not trying to cram everything into one work.
He keeps scrapbooks of images, went to Berlin and drew Greek sculpture on tracing paper,
changed from heavy wooden supports to canvas. He took a year off drinking, had therapy, returned
to his partner.
He uses music to help him work and considers a band is the epitome of collaboration.
He has worked with great energy, on various projects, exhibitions, performances, with various
He worries about producing more and more stuff, the environmental impact. [Could work smaller I wonder?]
He tries to start each painting anew.
My first Impressions seem fairly accurate now I know more of the artist and how he works.
And what a lovely audience, mostly artists, some his students, an atmosphere of gentle interest, of
shared struggles, of intuitive understanding. Thoughtful questions.
I hear one comment that they are beautiful, another that they're pretentious.
I can't agree with either. To me these are genuine explorations, authentic struggles.
I know the students he mentors are often also using art as a personal therapeutic enquiry and
expression because I have seen their shows.
Now Jesse Leroy - Smith is more settled and happier it will be interesting to see what comes next.