Edinburgh born artist Jacob Littlejohn’s practice is concerned by a personal interaction and investigation with the natural world. His work explores ways he chooses to represent place and space. The initial inception begins with the concept of landscape, creating a tension between a conscious and subconscious interpretation. Many of the Jacob’s works honour approaches of deep mapping and exercise ideas or objectives of psycho-geography, such as the dérive.
“My practice is connected to a personal interaction and investigation with the natural world. The initial inception begins around the concept of landscape – unity, balance, focal point and transitions, exploring the tension between conscious and subconscious interpretations of place and spaces. Through continually re-working intervals of space, rhythmic movement and perspective, my work critiques the human consumption of natural locations, while honouring the poetic everyday subject matter often overlooked, with the intention to augment the affects perceptual painting holds. Each work attempts to converse the momentary sublime rooted in the vastness of the natural world and is deeply dependent on the ontological experience.
Aspects of non-local colour placed alongside familiar hues are combined to celebrate the maximalism between actual and non-tangible spatial and pictorial scenes. The compositions truthfully merit the tyranny of the hand. Experiential moments that are depicted, act as chronologies layered across time and space, established on the surface in a non linear fashion suggesting a phenomenon, while bridging conscious and unconscious action. Scale and gesture is a continuing area of discovery for me and it is in this area that I try to challenge the accuracy of memory and explore ways of composing mood or atmosphere through non tangible events – like weather or deep time. Rich earth tones, natural pigments used to create a tangible connection to the source and frosty cool colours are combined, layered upon, erased and softened into the paintings surface to dissolve the figure-ground relationship. By fusing different energies within the works surface, I’m proposing the figure, ground, subject and process are all one cosmology.
The process involves extensive immersive explorations of place in order to learn and question the historical significance and various methods of tradition. The work manifests as paintings, written projects and sculptures that incorporate materials with literal and metaphorical symbolism forming meaning within the work and the decisions made. Many of the works hold journalistic tendencies that aim to intentionally defy logic through the distortion of reality, while taking narrative influences from both Scottish and local New York myth and folklore. Stories surround us and I believe the history of these narratives can be used as a alternative springboard for people to revaluate the way they engage with the natural environment in a particularly fragmented world.“
Jacob graduated from GSA in 2018 with a 1st Class BA(Hons) in Painting & Printmaking. He completed a fully funded residency at the Leith School of Art as the Graduate Artist in Residence 2019-20. In 2021-2022 Jacob undertook an MFA in Studio Art at the San Francisco Art Institute. He is currently completing his MFA in Studio Art at Hunter College, NYC.
Jacob has won numerous awards and has had work featured in shows across Scotland, London, San Francisco and New York.