By Lee Bale
The figurative paintings of Edmonton artist Doug Jamha are ultimately about contrasts. Chiaroscuro, stark black lines and strong value opposition punctuate his portraits of women, creating a heightened visual tension that nods to an emotional tension between the female subject and the viewer’s male gaze. Jamha describes his work as, “painting the relationship between me (the artist) and the model.’’ He states that art is born from obsession, and his obsession is the relationship between men and women. Jamha speaks of being deeply moved by how men and women deal with the constant struggle inherent in life, sexuality and death. Tactile elegance, veiled monochrome washes of ochre, umber and greyed hues and a vigorous charcoal line characterize these acrylic paintings on masonite board. The artist began his career as a professional musician and then trained as a visual artist at the University of Alberta, initially working in abstraction. Jamha’s work can be seen at the Kensington Fine Art Gallery in Calgary, as well as at the Front Gallery in Edmonton, where his show, titled More Doug Jamha, opens March 13, 2004.