Since the day we first saw Jonathan’s work in 2008 we have been amazed at how much it has blossomed and how many people have responded positively to his distinct and developing style. Since then several shows at Signal and exhibitions in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver have confirmed his international appeal.
Jonathan has achieved that rare thing of combining socio-political subject matter, with a real sense of beauty and truth. Despite the evils in the world he depicts, you come away from a Darby piece feeling refreshed.
Jonathan’s second solo show ‘Favela’ at Signal will take him deeper into the areas of concern he has touched on so successfully before. Concentrating on the favelas (slums) in the big cities of Brazil, Jonathan became acutely aware of the overwhelming social problems facing these communities. The favelas have been abandoned by national and local government and have been taken over by drug dealers and their gangs. A culture of lawlessness and violence exists unchecked, creating a level of poverty that gives Brazil the dubious accolade of nurturing the biggest gap between rich and poor in the world.
Some of the most vulnerable victims of this sorry state of affairs are the countless number of street children orphaned or abandoned by their parents. Jonathan’s show focuses on them and their plight. The show will be supported by the charity CARF (Children At Risk Foundation) that was founded by Englishman Gregory J Smith. Giving up a lucrative business career Smith set up and ran a home for street children called The Hummingford Project in Sao Paolo. Also a passionate photographer he has brilliantly documented this entire experience. Many of Jonathan’s works for the show will use these photographs as source material, creating a direct link to the abandoned children of the favelas. Some of the proceeds of the show will donated to CARF.
Jonathan’s work for the show is moving away from the more obvious use of logos. Instead, he will be using a range of more subtle artistic means to achieve his artistic goals. He has also spent time collecting together wooden objects to paint on, so that many of the works will have a more organic feel to them than his works on canvas. His aim in the show will be to create a unique experience combining paintings with atmospheric installations. This will be Jonathan’s most ambitious body of work to date, exploring an important issue using a wide range of materials and techniques. The show should establish him as one of the most important young artists on the scene.
When: 11th – March – 2nd April 2011
Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 6pm
Where: Signal Gallery | 32 Paul Street, London EC2A 4LB | 0207 613 1550 | mobile 07766 057 212
Words by Signal gallery