Tess Jaray: New Paintings

Tess Jaray: New Paintings
17 February–25 March 2022
Karsten Schubert London
46 Lexington Street

Tess Jaray: New Paintings, is a focused solo exhibition of paintings from the artist’s Solitude series. Seen here together, for the first time, they show the visual force of Jaray’s intuitive handling of colour and form. These paintings are an exemplar of the abiding allure of Jaray’s work: condensing a multitude of information and visual influences into utterly reduced and concise forms.

Refreshingly vibrant, Solitude IV, Solitude V and Solitude VI (all 2021), feature symmetrical planes of colour set around a prominent central line, creating a sense of optical flux in their respective colourways. These paintings, as is typical in Jaray’s work, at first appear precise and controlled, yet on further viewing alter and shift, engaging the viewer and inviting their participation.

Exhibition view: Tess Jaray, New Paintings, Karsten Schubert London (17 February–25 March 2022).
Courtesy Karsten Schubert London. 

Recognised as one of British art’s pioneers of abstract painting, Jaray developed a distinctive style early in her career that gained critical acclaim among the art world and her contemporaries. First inspired as a student during the 1950s by a trip to Italy, Renaissance painting and architecture remained an enduring influence leading to ambitious paintings and innovative commissions for public artworks of a monumental scale; notably the Victoria Station Concourse and Centenary Square in Birmingham. Although her practice stems from the austere tenets that define geometric minimalist painting, it possesses a playful quality that breaks from the cool objectivity commonly characterised by this genre.

Exhibition view: Tess Jaray, New Paintings, Karsten Schubert London (17 February–25 March 2022).
Courtesy Karsten Schubert London. 

It is through an innate understanding of how space is occupied in the physical world that the artist is able to investigate notions of perspective, depth, and three-dimensionality on the canvas. Moreover, it is this ability to evoke a physical sense of space that belies the absolute flatness of the painting’s surface that has contributed to the longevity of Jaray’s celebrated career and afforded her a singular place among her peers.

Opening in February 2022, this is the first solo presentation of Jaray’s new work since Return to Vienna: The Paintings of Tess Jaray at Secession, Vienna in 2021, an exhibition which recognised her family origins, having fled Nazi-occupied Austria for London in 1938. Tess Jaray: New Paintings at Karsten Schubert London will be accompanied by a catalogue with essay by Wells Fray-Smith.

©2022 Tess Jaray, Karsten Schubert London

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