Jason Robinson & Helen McMahon
As a collaboration of two artists painting on the same canvas we are guided by reaction and response, not imposing rules or process, to combine our very different methods of using paint to create abstract paintings. A finished work exists as a result of all marks made by both artists, whether they are still seen, been obliterated or have just left a trace.
Our paintings usually show our distinctly different painting styles which have a dissonant harmony, a playful discussion, muted versus loud. There are times when there is no harmony or discussion but rather a full on argument and attack on each other’s marks. A number of these paintings have been left to calm down over a few years and as we have become more considered of each other’s actions, these battle scarred paintings have been salvaged. Sanding has bulldozed some of the blights but still left a trace, foundations that have been built upon and smoothed over, a kind of beauty from the rubble.
Our paintings exist because of the other; not necessarily bearing equal marks, but coming to a compromise, a resolution to find a kind of harmony.
Jason Robinson and Helen McMahon started to work together whilst studying BA Fine Art at The Cass School of Art and Design, graduating in 2011. When awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Purchase Prize there, we decided to continue to collaborate, sharing studio space, music and arguments.
“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… One relies on the autonomous, reactive and interceptive deeds of the other… 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