In his evocative figurative paintings, British artist Jack Penny depicts contemporary urban life from the perspective of a rural-dwelling outsider. Penny’s largely improvised and haphazard compositions question the sustainability of modern society, established systems, and the nine-to-five hustle of the blue-collar and white-collar workers as they go about their daily lives.
Penny’s creative practice is motivated by a search for authenticity. He is driven by capturing a real sense of humanity within his work.
Viewing himself as a 21st century documentarian of city life, like George Grosz did before him, Penny paints uniform and seemingly anonymous figures clustered together, as if they were searching for validation in numbers. Rather than relying on manipulative techniques to develop a painting, Jack is conscious of trying to spark his audience’s sensory awareness as they experience his work. As he paints, Penny attempts to act before making choices. Without hesitation, he responds spontaneously to the work developing before him, relying only upon his initial instincts when making decisions regarding the colours, textures or lines.
Penny’s influences include the instinctive spontaneity of de Kooning, the palette of Diebenkorn, the vulnerability of Baselitz, and the vitality of Nick Cave.
Over the past two years, Jack has shown four solo exhibitions in London, Berlin, and Hong Kong.