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Texture and Colour: Abstract Art by Gary Jenkins

A painting with bulbous abstract shapes in orange and redUntitled, acrylic on wood panel

Our featured artist today is Gary Jenkins. Gary was born in Flint, Michigan and now lives and works in Kumagaya, Saitama, Japan. This artist’s practice revolves around abstract paintings that explore texture and color through repeating patterns of bulbous, smooth marks.


An abstract painting using many different colours in uniform marksGinza No.39

A screen capture of Gary Jenkins' art websiteThe Black Ice series in Gary's portfolio

Gary’s most recent works in his portfolio are a series of acrylic paintings that explore variations on the artist’s familiar methods of working. In one group of paintings, the artist sticks to a two or three-tone colour scheme, painting overlapping blobs of colour that are separated by incongruously hard black lines. In other paintings, Gary channels Jackson Pollock on wood panels that are packed to bursting with tiny, brightly coloured marks and long, crossing lines.


I like the way that Gary uses negative space to emphasize the marks in his paintings. A great example of this is his Black Ice series, in which Gary worked almost exclusively in black, white and a neutral, earthy tan colour. The white marks have sharp, hard edges that jut out into the other shapes, piercing them. While the paintings are layered, it’s a puzzle for the eye to try to figure out which marks were made first.  


A mixed media artwork depicting many small marks and layers of translucent colourCrosscurrents No.21, acrylic and acrylic gouache on fabric on canvas

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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