The abstract expressionist painter Paul Jenkins (1923-2012), known for pouring paint onto canvas and paper in flows of luminous colour, had a secret life. His engagement with collage, a lesser-known aspect of his work that evolved since the mid-1950s, is a story in itself. In effect, the collages were part of the artist’s work for many decades and rarely appeared outside his studio until much later. Although Jenkins gave primacy to his paintings on canvas and watercolours on paper, the collages remained a source of inspiration and exploration for him throughout his life, and he actively pursued them at varying degrees in tandem with his work in other media.
This is the first presentation in the UK of a group of the artist's collages.
The collages range from the abstract to works including iconography, calligraphic scripts and printed materials from diverse cultures, primarily Asian, to three-dimensional constructions, mostly of wood. They form a visual atlas of the artist’s mind: a succession of images, thoughts, experiences and objects that the artist held close. All these composite elements function as signposts in a similar way to runes or other mantic tools, or, in the artist’s words as “path indications, road signs at night.”