Penny’s work looks to engage with the rawness of the human experience. His disfigured or elongated figures come about through his theme of escapism, which reoccurs in his work through different subject matter such as commuters, last orders and train riders. At first glance, Penny’s approach is apparently figurative, but as one lingers and moves through the figures, the landscape, the colours in his work, one begins to identify that what he attempts to capture is a strong sense of rawness and humanities constant struggle of breaking from and finding comfort between the struggles of the mind and the body.
Penny’s ‘Commuters’ series is a key example of this in capturing the essence of the last generation and the choices that the next generation are confronted with – a constant search to relinquish anxiety, a simple moment of stillness, of escape, from our daily rituals.
In his evocative figurative paintings, British artist Jack Penny depicts contemporary urban life from the perspective of a rural-dwelling outsider. Penny’s largely improvised and haphazard compositions question the sustainability of modern society, established systems, and the nine-to-five hustle of the blue-collar and white-collar workers as they go about their daily lives. Penny’s creative practice is motivated by a search for authenticity. He is driven by capturing a real sense of humanity within his work.
Viewing himself as a 21st century documentarian of city life Penny paints uniform and seemingly anonymous figures clustered together, as if they were searching for validation in numbers.