Delmonte is a collaboration of two artists, Helen McMahon and Jason Robinson, who share a studio but not the same style of painting. By working jointly on the same canvas our different methods of using paint combine to create atmospheric, abstract paintings with an aesthetic style that could not result from one artist.
Working to a basic starting formula of applying thin layers, we are then subsequently guided by reaction and response, not imposing rules or process, and rarely discussing what each other plans to do until the very end when both decide if a work is finished or not.
Muted grounds create a sense of place where contrasting quick, bold actions, whether loud and jarring or a just a subtle intervention, bring to life a narrative, however ambiguous it may be. Sometimes these determined marks are obliterated but a finished work exists as a result of all marks made whether they are still seen or have just left a trace.
Our paintings are influenced by many mutual experiences; music, the landscape in and around London where we live, the changing seascape of nearby south east coastline.
The premise of our work is how differently we respond to these joint experiences; making abstract paintings with diverse elements that at the same time contain a harmony and discord – like a noise and silence, there is a visual disturbance amongst the stillness, a dissonant harmony.
“Disregarding the traditional idea that an oil painting is created by just the one painter, Helen McMahon and Jason Robinson create intensely atmospheric abstract paintings as a duet. With a formula that deems the process just as important as the outcome, one relies on the autonomous, reactive and interceptive deeds of the other. Painting alone at different hours but on the same canvas, their separation of ideas and paint creates a togetherness in their works, a “harmonious tension” as they call it, which leaves the viewer questioning whether the painting might be a reference to a landscape, a figure, an experience or an emotion.” Beautiful Crime 2012