Jonathan Gibbs


“Although Jonathan Gibbs has lived and worked in Scotland for a number of years, he acknowledges the importance of the ‘churches, fields, shorelines and elements of landscape from East Norfolk, where my family comes from’.  At first sight, his paintings and engravings evoke a mid-twentieth-century mood, suggestive of territory between Ben Nicholson and Eric Ravilious – fastidious, linear and deeply sensitive to place.

"When the art historian Nikolaus Pevsner summarised ‘the Englishness of English art’ for the Reith Lectures in 1955, he chose Hogarth, Reynolds, Perpendicular architecture, William Blake, John Constable and the Picturesque movement to exemplify different aspects of national character.  It is possible to use Pevsner’s categories as a way of reading Jonathan’s work.  The Hogarth lecture ends in an account of architectural ‘dressing up’ in different styles, which could correspond to Jonathan’s facility for evoking an earlier period.  ‘Reynolds and Detachment’ is the title of the second lecture, indicating a coolness and restraint.  Perpendicular is more a visual category, in which straight lines structure an ornamental and constructional language with light pouring in.  We might think of those Norfolk churches and their delicate linearity.

"Pevsner characterises Blake with ‘flaming line’.  As painter and engraver alike, Gibbs is certainly a man of line, and like Blake, he keeps shapes and objects afloat in space in his work.  Constable and the Picturesque I will lump together.  Here we are talking about sensitive provincialism of the kind that ploughs a furrow on the same relatively narrow patch, from which a universal sensitivity to nature grows visible.

"Is all this stuff about national character divisive rubbish, or is it one of several litmus papers that we can dip into art in order to begin to understand it?  Treat it if you like as a game that we can play with Jonathan’s delightful and resilient work, as his work plays with our memories of places and other works of art.”

Alan Powers – from the introduction to Flint & Straw, Works by Jonathan Gibbs at the Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh, 2006.

Jonathan studied at Central School of Art & Design, London, and at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London.  He was a Cheltenham Fellow in Painting at Gloucestershire College of Art, and was awarded a Boise Travel Scholarship.  He is presently Head of Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art.

Solo Exhibitions 
 

2013
Fish Bone, Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
2011, 2008, 2006, 2003, 1999, 1997, 1995, 1993, 1987
Open Eye Gallery, Edinburgh
2001, 1998, 1991, 1989, 1987, 1985
Curwen Gallery, London
2000
Frames Contemporary Gallery, Perth
Ewan Mundy Fine Art, Glasgow
1990
Stroud Festival, Gloucestershire
1989
Dumfries and Galloway Arts Festival
1985
Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
1982
369 Gallery, Edinburgh
Park Gallery, Cheltenham
1981
Holsworthy Gallery, London
1980
Ikon Gallery, Birmingham
1979
Camden Arts Centre, London
Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh

  • Aboriginal Crocodile by Jonathan Gibbs
  • After Apple Picking by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Birds, Tree & Fish #2 by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Black Sheep by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Blue Morning by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Blue Room by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Cats by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Choux a Go Go by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Device For The Moon by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Django Tango by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Domus by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Eels by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Estonian Forest by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Field & Branch by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Fish & Eggs by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Fish Box by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Fish Trap by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Good & Evil by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Good & Evil #2 by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Head & Book by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Herringbone II by Jonathan Gibbs
  • His Nose, His Nose by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Kitchen Knife by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Leaf Form by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Letter Ladder by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Man & Woman by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Moon, Tree & River by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Nature Cure by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Pencil Eye by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Pisces by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Pyramids & Temple by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Quartet by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Sea Defences II by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Sea Defences III by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Shutters by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Six Fish Spiral by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Still Life With Eggs by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Sun, Star & Moon by Jonathan Gibbs
  • The River & The Sea by Jonathan Gibbs
  • The Sea & The Sky by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Thrush by Jonathan Gibbs
  • To The Horizon by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Tower & Landscape by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Tree At My Window by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Tumblers by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Two Trees by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Whale & Elephants by Jonathan Gibbs
  • Winter Garden by Jonathan Gibbs