james tebbutt - artist

Review and critical analysis of my painting ‘Father & Son’  in the Fishmarket Open Exhibition 2011-12

There is a lot to see in James Tebbutt’s ‘Father & Son’ for those wishing to take more than a casual glance. One of the more visually striking pieces in the Fishmarket gallery’s final open exhibition, Tebbutt’s work is a curious mix of vivid colourful imagery. At first glance, ‘father & son’ is a veritable maelstrom of paint. Although chaotic in appearance, closer inspection reveals purpose behind every brush stroke.

Tebbutt’s work mixes a number of painterly styles. Thick bold strokes of colour keep hold of the shape given to them by the brush. These are accompanied by an assortment of Pollock-esque drips and splatters along with patterns, geometric shapes and other abstract forms of painting. Standing in juxtaposition to these abstract shapes and brushstrokes are more recognisable imagery such as plants and animals.

The true essence of Tebbutt’s work resides in the application of paint. The manner in which the paint is transferred to canvas takes precedence over the resulting visual image. His painting acts as a visual glossary of painterly styles and techniques. The viewer is invited to look closely to see a narrative woven in brush strokes. Some painterly marks are given subtle shapes by Tebbutt, the close proximity to more recognisable images such as plants and flowers suggests a metamorphosis occurring in the painting as if the various images are growing and changing. As one style of painting gives way to another, the affect is a visual representation of the ever evolving medium of paint. Tebbutt himself states that his work is not fully planned out in its inception.


“The resultant paintings are not always planned through to completion before they are started but instead develop and evolve with a stream of consciousness which links the eclectic component images together” 


It can be judged that much in the way painting as a medium has evolved and branched out into many differing styles, so too does Tebbutt’s work grow and change during its creation, culminating to a gestalt form of painterly style. Painting as a medium is one that has grown and changed throughout its existence and continues to evolve to this day. Tebbutt’s ‘Father & Son’ makes a fine visual metaphor to the nature of an ever changing form of art. 

Jonathan Roberts