Jake Aikman has followed an extremely rigorous and coherent research for years, focusing on a consciously reduced series of subjects, especially sea and landscape parts (the source of his repertoire is not abstract, in so that he deals with specific areas of the world, particularly with the south of the Atlantic ocean). Regarding this surprising continuity I find a premise essential: in art every representation evokes sensations and ideas which go further than the specific subject, we could rather say that the subject, in a more or less direct manner, is instrumental to such evocation.
Such attitude, as was said, is in fact inexhaustible as in general terms it concerns our relation with the world (and with the representation), so it is as if each painting declined differently or renewed the reflection.
The terms of Aikman’s pictorial discourse are precise. In its base there are the constantly changing relationships between light, shadows and colors (the chromatic range is rigorous and contained) from which the many atmospheric effects arise: if the sea is always kept on a slightly dark shade, the sky can instead change, from the linearity of an intense blue to the thickening of gray before a storm, until the rosy relaxation of twilight; the pink tone also returns in the skies above the forests, while the greens of the leaves degrade from dark to the proximity to yellow.
A fundamental aspect in Aikman’s painting is indeed the constant modulation of the recurrent figurations, as a progressive deepening of that which is not considered exhausted – and which is, in fact, not exhaustible: the sea changes continuously due to its own movement and based on the position from which we observe it,the same applies to the vegetation, the trees grow and perish, they are moved by the wind, they join to become a stain or forest. This concerns appearances in the first instance; referring to substance, the artist is deeply fascinated by the forces that stem from and give life to natural scenery. The possibility of understanding such forces in a rational and scientific way does not diminish the mysterious and poetic sense which they spring up from our inner self; the ripples of the water surface or the soaring of the tree branches are presences to confront. And it is this confrontation that takes shape through painting, in both directions: it is a reflection that the artist makes during the action of painting itself – note that it is not the point of view that changes, always at a half-height view: in the marine ones it is as if the observer were standing above the water level, in the vegetation ones, above the ground – and a reflection that invites whoever looks at the picture to make.
And the changing dimensions must also be considered: from the large format, which we could understand as a one-to-one scale, to the small format; in both cases the capacity for identification that we feel in front of the landscapes remains the same.
In conclusion, I would like to highlight the affirmative and prolific aspect of this questioning. It is not the anguished question destined to remain unanswered, but the question that is valid in itself, which creates value by the very fact of being formulated and being a source of thoughts and feelings. The title of the exhibition can also be interpreted in this sense, Still the light reaches us, the light, which is essential nourishment for the emergence of Jake Aikman’s painting, radiates from the paintings to us, in a constructive process of investigation of nature, of the world, of reality.