This Tall Night Foreword by Rhys Morgan 2014

Tall Tales (The Slow Act of Waking Up)

We all tell tales. Some may argue this is the role of the artist, the obligation to recount life around them. To highlight the narrative around us, to draw attention to some of the features of our idiosyncratic existence, to create a vessel for the collection of nuance. When we travel, some of those things that we begin to take for granted in our awareness of our surroundings, start to be reborn or at least find renewed importance. The vision of a women beckoning you from within her glass tomb, stirs within you time after the event.

But this is more than memory, they take on a presence within your existence, they become something you feel compelled to question, to deal with in some outward manner. But here within a piece such as Into Her Darkness, Jack charges the paint with the moment, it is instantaneous, not remembered, even if enacted sometime hence of the experience. Capturing the detail as fact, like the experiences of Gorge Orwell in Paris, Down and Out in London and Paris, or the video journals of Jonas Mekas. It is not sterile enough to be labelled as forensic however there is a sense of collection, that feels live, not recollection.

Every surrounding rhythm of a moment is picked up to be harnessed and re experienced. It’s where we find the growth (and not only in scale) of a person and how they are interacting with the world, a questioning and continued search for truth. Sometimes it’s barred, sometimes there’s a blockage, something that refuses to rest that echoes back to us, like feedback and we feel it again in a new phase in a new place. The passions of men mature; with their bodies, with their knowledge’s, and their habits, but their art still questions. Even when affected by cynicism they still wonder like a child. Endlessly asking why?

I can see you, but I can never reach you.

– T. Yorke



Just as the stories of our lives evolve, so does the landscape around us. What was once safe, can become mysterious and threatening. This then builds, in a cacophony of paranoia. The dense smokey field of One Little Leak (Becomes a Lake) starts to unfold before our eyes, the structure climes before us like a scaffold. The colours fall back, choked by the the smog, becoming glimmers of what we know. Fighting with our eyes to see the rose the indigo that are now beacons, like Gatsby scanning the horizon for the green light, where we are pushed and pulled but the deluge of failing light.


A signifier of the adaptability of artistic skill is exemplified in Jack’s smaller pieces, where substantial or at least poignant ideas are challenged with a discordant (with scale) application of marks. In Dejection a violent red arch forms a corridor which we are forced to follow with our eyes. The viewer is made the voyeur of an obsession, perhaps libidinous, perhaps pernicious, but still one we wilfully follow. As a harrowing face pushes through a veil in Valentia Road, as though trapped beneath crimson streaked ice. Suggesting something larger, something altogether more foreboding.


Through half the night,

         Scudding away from snare to snare, I plied

         That anxious visitation; moon and stars

         Were shining o’er my head. I was alone,

– W. Wordsworth


But where there may lay darkness, there is are moments of warming serenity, the rose hue of Lunette Madder creates a romantic vista of ascension, flanked by a darkness of thunder. The reassuring green shroud of Lunette Ochre satellites our consciousness like the thin veiling cloud of a nights sky. Where the moon becomes the calmatives brother of the sun. And as Jack well knows, it’s sometimes the triumphs and struggles of our kin that absorbs our lives and theirs.


The stage is set for the trials and curiosities of like to fade in and out, like the ebb and flow of the sea which is still effused in Jacks mind, as distraction and bitterness egress leaving only the moments of remark. Like the sweetness of dreams as we wake.