These cool abstractions, with their carefully wrought articulations and muted colours, suggest Constructivist antecedence and inspiration, but what Jonathan Gibbs has learnt from hard masters has been thoroughly assimilated to his own purpose. He demonstrates the capacity to develop an expressive range within tight formal constraints. Thus the decorative jazz of some of the work, with its suggestion of a somewhat constricted deliberation of effect, gives way elsewhere to a freer, more relaxed gestural deployment of familiar motives of semi-circle, bar, block and line.
Chance and suggestion seem to be playing a larger part in the composition of these, mostly later, works (January 1981; Suspended Forms II). In these the dynamic opposition of hard pencil lines to soft-worked pastel ground, or of textured surfaces laid against spaces of untouched paper, or of complex layering of subtly differentiated tones, are among the variety of devices by which Gibbs creates dramatic effects of metaphoric suggestiveness.
by Mel Gooding