Colin Jellicoe
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Waldemar Januszezak

Colin Jellicoe
IN MY DAYS as an art reviewer with the New Manchester Review I wrote only two notices which could be termed ecstatic One concerned a budding genius who went on to become a rather good insurance salesman; the other waxed long and lyrical upon the wonders of Colin Jellicoe Here I am again confronted by the same artist, still ecstatic, yet now hoping that too much success won’t come his way. Because successful artists invariably end up giving their punters more of the same good thing, and Colin Jellicoe's appeal stems from his use of each canvas as a different punch bag upon which to event his ever deepening frustration. The earliest paintings gathered together in this retrospective at his own Manchester Gallery (until Novemher 19), are a frenzied attempt at communication in which the wet paint looks like it’s been shovelled on with a trowel. This haymaker’s approach is used to attack the trees at Platt Fields or stir up the atmosphere in a dimly lit cafe. But it reaps its healthiest rewards when directed at nudes. In his latest paintings, loneliness becomes the dominant emotion and the paintwork is subdued to give his images a chance. Trapped in a dry airless landscape - dialogue, architecture and action stripped to the barest minimum - sets of mysterious lovers go about the business of communication with a truly agonising lack of success. So see this stunning show soon.

The Guardian, 10 November 1977

Colin Jellicoe Gallery

EVERYONE IN Manchester knows Colin Jellicoe the gallery owner. This year, it's the turn of Colin Jellicoe the artist. This show is a retrospective to celebrate Colin’s twenty five years as a painter. The Platt Field Paintings of 1960-3 begin the show. Jellicoe, although initially influenced by the Euston Road school, painted many of these pictures at night, to convey the effect of sodium lights upon the park’s foliage. By the mid-sixties, figures became more prominent in Jellicoe’s work, the planes more dislocated. The whole feeling of a filmset comes to mind which is significant, in view of the cinematic approach that Jellicoe uses in the eighties, painting long sequences based on a single theme. It’s also worth mentioning that Colin Jellicoe’s greatest passion after painting is for ‘B’ westerns, and he is an expert on the subject. After periods of enthusiasm for Francis Bacon and Keith Vaughan, Jellicoe painted a series of heads. These paintings of the early seventies are reminiscent of Picasso’s pictures of tribal masks, but are altogether more human, and contain an ambiguity as to whether the paintings are of masks, or of heads. From the early seventies onwards, Jellicoe’s colours became consciously more naturalistic - the reds and blues of his Heads being replaced by pastoral greens and browns. Jellicoe’s Nightbathers of 1973 ties many strands in his work together. This large painting is cinematic (it came from an idea Colin had after seeing a film), it is naturalistic in colour and technique, the figures are stylized, with mask-like heads, and there is the brooding menace of still, deep water - a theme that occurs quite regularly in Jellicoe’s paintings. The movie influence reaches its zenith with a splendid sequence of paintings featuring James Dean. For several years, now, the painter, Jackie Williams has allowed many photographs to be taken of her in a Manchester park. Colin works these photographs into square, highly-stippled oil paintings, most recently in themes of twelve to fifteen pictures. The themes are simple - an umbrella, a park bench - but Jellicoe’s mental concentration, like that of a composer, lets him work the theme throughout its variations in ways continually extraordinary and delightful.

Guy Lawson, Art Line 27, 1986.