The Rafiki Gallery is incredibly pleased to be partnering with Detail Framing Studio to exhibit the works of Jacob Littlejohn and Martyn McKenzie. The exhibition is a showcase of selected pieces which are exploring the themes of place, identity, memory, and the landscape. The show will be hosted in Detail Framing Studio’s new venue. The exhibition aims to encourage people to consider their personal connection to exploration, the role of spectator within the work and relationships between nature, reality, landscape and still life.
Space as we know it has connotations of abstraction and geometry, while place resonates with particular and a qualitative destiny. Perceived, conceived, and lived spaces are all appropriated within Littlejohn’s practice, with a commendation to the Poetics of Space. Do we make places, or do they make us? Recently, this has been manifested by sourcing materials and source imagery from different locations and how each work created can in turn illustrate these and become a tangible connection to its origins. By exploring this, nature does not disappear in abstract painting, nature’s laws are concealed into a unique visual form. By reading the work of Bachelard the artist has been considering the space that we choose to form and manipulate around us, to best meet our needs as individuals, taking a direct visual influence as well as a metaphorical approach to these environments.
McKenzie’s work develops from unexpected moments, drawing on the emotions that are felt in that encounter. Channelling otherness, hope, emptiness, safety, uncertainty and joy, the work encourages you to contemplate and enter the scenes to feel the sensations the artist experienced at the time. The paintings are a dichotomy between the personal and the universal, taking moments of perceived solitude and contemplation, and presenting them to be communicated in an organic manner. There is a constant push and pull of telling a story but leaving space. The lack of figures in the work and the clever use of unfinished edges on the canvases allow the works to become windows into different times, seen from the eye of the artist.
New York-based painter Jacob Littlejohn is a recent graduate of Glasgow School of Art’s BA Painting and Printmaking and has participated in group and solo shows throughout the UK and received several awards. Jacob has recently completed the fully assisted Graduate Residency programme at Leith School of Art. Since, Jacob received a fellowship award to study at The San Francisco Art Institute in 2021. After spending a year in San Francisco, Jacob has moved to Hunter College of Art in New York to finish his studies.
Glasgow-based artist and musician Martyn McKenzie is a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art. He has been widely exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions. He exhibited as a finalist for the Sunday Times Watercolour Competition at the Mall Galleries in London. Alongside his practice as a painter, he has worked in Art Education and delivered several community art commissions. He is the singer of the band Luthia, a Glasgow based band currently recording their debut EP.