Jake Wood-Evans’ new body of work, produced for this solo exhibition at Winchester Discovery Centre’s Gallery, which is operated by Hampshire Cultural Trust in partnership with Unit London, is a continuation of the artists’ exploration of memory and mortality.

Returning to his enduring love of the Baroque for inspiration, the likes of Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, Nicolas Poussin and Jean-Baptiste Marie Pierre form the conceptual genesis for Relic.

Here Wood-Evans moves further into abstraction than ever before, as the reference piece is transformed he uses the canvas to examine the tangibility, or lack thereof, of our existence. Jake claims he has always been just as interested in what is absent, missing or removed, than what remains; he hopes these new paintings have the power to engage and captivate the viewer for even the briefest moment, to provide the opportunity for a meditative and emotional response.

Large-scale and bold, Wood-Evans’ versions of the historical altarpiece are washed with a depth of colour that obscures and fragments the figures of classical imagery that lurk beneath. Yet these underlying forms refuse to be fully erased, like an artistic palimpsest shapes from previous layers remain, serving as a shifted, reconstructed memento of what once was. The final products only loosely retain a visual connection to their reference, yet offer widespread allusions to seminal moments throughout art history: there are traces of mankind’s first cave paintings made with earth pigments; the Old Master’s red chalk sketches; Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings and Rothko’s famous Colour Field works. The layers of references and meaning are mirrored by the seeming erosion, reworking and restoration of the subject. These new works offer a scene largely concealed or the scratched surface of a long discarded, corroded film.

The exhibition will be open at the Discovery Centre on January 10 and will stay until the end of March.