»A Collector’s Exhibition«

Aldeburgh Gallery –

Two Edinburgh Artists: Jonathan Gibbs and Andrew Restall —

Jonathan Gibbs works as an illustrator; he lectures in Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art. But you would never know (as I did not until I was about to leave) that most of the small collection of engravings at the Aldeburgh Gallery were illustrations. He has that enviable ability to produce an image which must have well complemented the text and satisfied the client, yet is able to stand alone, needing no explanation and causing pleasure for its own sake.

He is primarily an abstract painter (11 paintings were on show) with a love of flat planes of colour, lines and texture, and, while his engravings are more figurative, they too seem to revel in the freedom of linear perspective, pattern making and, above all the simple white-line-on-black. In the wonderfully exuberant Django Tango (1993) the dance hall, dancers, tables, chairs and band are all simply cut in white line with the minimum of fuss but with small patches of white acting as punctuation – giving the scene such a tremendous sense of rhythm that I longed to join in.

In my favourite, Oranges du Soleil, each of the four little images is a riot of lines, planes and patterns bouncing off each other at different angles, yet the whole design comes together as sheer delight.

Sadly, it is no good my urging fellow East Anglians to catch this fascinating show if they can — it closed weeks ago.


by Linda Holmes
The Aldeburgh Gallery, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, 7-15 June 2002