Jack Felgate is one of those painters who continue to baffle the viewer, even though his subject matter evokes a realm of simplicity and straightforwardness. Felgate is half-painter half-magician, whipping up creations reminiscent of elementary school projects in their cre pas textures and obvious/chunky line breaks (hence the simplicity) but no less compelling in their muted tones, accessible subject matter (see: candles, a lone row boat, a basic blue-and-white teacup) and adult moods.
Each piece casts a special and surreal stripped-down picture of Felgate’s take on the gray scale and how it intermingles with other colors, geometric shaping, and negative space. Evoking scenes fitting planetarium intermissions, astronomy or astrology, as well as earthly subjects like pyramids, rocks, skulls and shells, Felgate entices the viewer to dig deeper when confronted with everyday symbols and well-worn shapes. With a flourish of his paintbrush, this artist turns a simple design into a portal to another landscape, be it real or imaginary, of the earthly plane or shadowing the heavenly bodies. In any atmosphere, Felgate emerges as an artist whose relationship with his medium allows us to take that mystical journey with him, even though the magic trick’s on us. With Felgate, we are happy to play along.
© W. Laurie Ewer