1st Class Hons in Fine Art at the University of Gloucestershire, 2017
Working predominantly in oils and acrylics, Jacob Gourley is a Wirral/Liverpool based painter whose practice explores the boundaries between realism and abstraction. Forming the bedrock of Jacob’s practice is the awareness of the central roles that the formal qualities play, such as shape, tone, edges, colour and composition. His interest in the materiality of painting drives his practice in making work that integrates a range of painterly techniques into a single piece.
With a social documentary, yet often surreal, quality to his work, he finds his greatest source of inspiration from paying mindful attention to the mundane, routinely overlooked moments of the everyday. Environments associated with public transport, i.e buses and bus stops, trains and train stations etc, spaces in which people are ‘in-between’ places, provide a rich subject matter.
In addition to the visual qualities of these spaces, Jacob is interested in the psychological and emotional spaces that the people within them inhabit. The human presence regularly comes to the fore in the work, often inviting the viewer to construct a narrative, and/or speculate about the depicted person/s mental and emotional state.
Accompanying this narrative aspect, the paintings have an uncanniness, wandering the psychological territory between intimacy and voyeurism. This gives them a quiet & reflective feel, yet simultaneously one which is slightly uncomfortable and at times even sinister.
A lighter side to Jacob’s practice is plein air landscape and flower painting, which seeks to employ classical principles in a contemporary idiom.