Jack Pakenham (b.1938)
Glimpsed Heads I, II and III
Acrylic on canvas
21.3cm x 15.2cm each
Courtesy of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland
Born in Dublin 1938, Jack Pakenham graduated from Queens University in French, Spanish and Philosophy and taught at Ashfield’s Boy’s Secondary School, Belfast from 1961. In 1990 he retired from teaching and turned to painting full time. Pakenham was elected an Academician of the Royal Ulster Academy of Arts in 1987. He has exhibited extensively since the early 1960s and his work can be found in numerous collections including the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Office of Public Works and The Model, Sligo. His early expressionist works evolved as an 'engaged, ferocious response to communal violence' from the outbreak of the Troubles. His recurring motifs of masked, unsettling figures challenge the viewer and suggest gunmen and other elements of violence.
The work explores the artist’s attempts to convey in visual terms some aspects of the Human Drama, to give a visual vocabulary to psychological states such as anxiety, depression and to portray emotions of distrust, bigotry, hatred, tenderness all within imagined theatrical situations which have multiple readings. Speaking about his work, Pakenham has commented, "Over these years I have tried to convey through a poetic language of metaphor of language, symbol, allegory and ambitious narrative, some of my concerns and anxieties, to use visual language to expose and comment."