Painting is a poetic language, an incarnation of what cannot be expressed or articulated. The affective nature of memory and the subconscious are found both in the process of the works included in Jack Jubb’s Half-Life and through their hazy, disorientating aesthetic sensibility: lines are unclear, revealing their subliminal potential and aura. They encapsulate the yearning we find in the banal and unrefined, what happens when we confront the complicated nature of nostalgia and what lingers between recognisable people and scenes, surrealist creatures and forms. Each painting extracts the feeling of the uncanny without altering it.
Gnosis (cute) plays with our over-identification with animals as children and the impetus to draw them. The captivate animal, its inability to have control over its context and fetishisation, appears both unsettling and familiar. And yet there is alienation at play, a fictioning of real and imagined worlds. Fiction-as-fantasy and becoming more than human; the cuteness of transhuman creatures which dwell between recognisable figures. Nostalgia and eeriness combine to convey an unconscious feeling which lingers between recognisable faces and surrealist objects. In Sempervivums, behind a reclining Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, baguettes and croissants lurk and morph into not quite insects; a strange aperture to this moment of the subliminal.
Robin Williams, so paternalistic in the minds of many: here he embodies the binary of being both warm and troubled and illustrates the cognitive dissonance of fandom and celebrity, its darkest possible outcomes. In Bivalve (Robin), at the premiere of Flubber, Williams feels both familiar and strange. In Bivalve (Taylor), Taylor Swift feels both ecstatic and melancholy, pensive yet rapturous. Dune’s Timothée Chalamet looms large in an industrious Stillsuit in Bivalve (Villeneuve), which is exoskeletal in both form and function. Our skeletons persist after we are gone, a universal image of persistence after death.
What is stripped back? Between each of the works, bones and the skeletal, feature as constant reminders of turning the inside out – returning to the body in its most ancient form. Both Survivor’s Guilt and Reaping vs Sowing embody this foreboding through the clothes Glenn Danzig and Jerry Only from the Misfits wear. Like dinosaurs in a museum, these anatomical interiors ask us to look into the present past and past-present, submerging us in the feeling of wistful impressions and ruminations.
All Jubb’s paintings are made with an airbrush, concealing these past sensations, affects, images and creatures. Yet as the airbrush brings this spectral into focus, the disconnection to memory becomes clear. Half-life is the name given to the process in which radioactive isotopes decay over time, but persist; mutating into other formations and iterations.