Paintings by James Mortimer
24 October – 22 November
Thursday 23 October, 6:30 – 8:30
(Together with a performance by the Baron Gilvan)
We are pleased to present our
first solo show for the young English painter James Mortimer.
James’s fey boys inhabit
a world of uncomplicated decadence, a surreal Renaissance landscape
where man and beast exist together on increasingly equal terms.
Inhibitions go out the window; each is a slave to their own nature.
The ensuing relationships provide fertile ground for myriad little
dramas as the companions look to get along. Animals become mischievous,
even vicious at times. Their masters try to rise above it, retaining
an almost Imperial sense of composure, but in the process find
themselves somehow detached, lost even, gazing wistfully into the
opium haze of their peculiar adopted land.
Whilst seemingly simple, there
is wealth of drama playing out behind the scenes. Visual puns and
innuendoes pepper his paintings like Freudian slips of the brush.
Every fruit and every plant is pregnant with suggestion. Exoticism
and the thrill of travel also permeate every scene, like Victorian
Boy’s Own adventures that have turned slightly spicy and
risqué. And underneath it all, there is a simmering sexuality.
These characters are vain, vice-loving and beautiful; they are
what the gaze what meant for.
At 25 years of age, James is
a remarkable talent. His works are instantly recognisable, thanks
to their distinctive style and humour, their playful combination
of art historical references, and the unusual light that he gives
them. As an artist, James is self-taught. Collections include The
Club at the Ivy, London; The Spurstowe Arms & The Windsor Castle,
Hackney; and private collections in the UK, China, Singapore, and
Alongside James Mortimer’s
exhibition, we are pleased to present a performance and exhibition
of works by the inimitable Baron Gilvan.
The Baron is the creation of
the British artist Chris Gilvan-Cartwright. Originally conceived
as a conduit for his own creativity, The Baron is the governor
of all Chris’s works, the character through which it all
A dispossessed Mitteleuropa aristocrat,
landed up on the shores of Blighty clutching only his paintings
and his hopes, the Baron is concerned with only the intensity of
life itself, and the beauty of the ideal. He is raw, unflinching,
and utterly sincere, a compact of all that is magnificent.
On the opening night, the Baron
will be in residence in the basement, receiving visitors and well-wishers
in his live portrait studio. A selection of his landscape paintings
will also be present, fruit of the Baron’s forays into the
South Downs of England, and his endeavours of capturing in paint
the magical energy of the land.
A visit is not simply recommended;
it is essential.