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JAMES HUNTER | NEW LIMITED EDITION PRINT LAUNCH

September 30th 2016
Orangeola is our third limited edition screenprint by British artist James Hunter. Find out more about the new print edition below.

There’s something very playful about Preston-based artist James Hunter’s most recent print Orangeola. As with previous pieces in this ongoing body of work - which he began working on in 2013 after a period of time being employed by Damien Hirst as both a performance artist and fabricator - he builds up the composition gradually, form by form in various block colours, not thinking too much about what shape the forms will take or what the final image will look like.

Colour is an important part of the work, and here he predominantly uses complementary tones of yellows and mauvey-blues, which dominate the image. In every piece Hunter makes, whether a painting or a print, he includes a perfectly formed circular dot - a nod to his past life making spot paintings for Damien Hirst. In early works he said it was because he couldn’t quite let go of the repetition. Three years later however it can be assumed the dots have become habit; a signature element of his works, and of course they make a great story.

Hunter’s titles are chosen, often randomly, from books about plants, as Hirst did for his work with medical dictionaries. In this case ‘Orangeola’ is a Japanese Maple Tree; whether this name was consciously chosen because Hunter felt the finished composition had a Japanese feel to it or whether it was taken aimlessly can only be left to our imagination.

Our visual inventiveness also very much plays a part in how we view Hunter’s work. What can initially appear to be a collection of abstract shapes piled on top of one another soon becomes something else as our conscious minds begin to decipher what it is we think Hunter is trying to portray, even though we’re aware the works are abstract. In some pieces, figures or animals can be seen, in others a landscape as we try to relate the title to the image. It’s often difficult to accept the shapes are not figurative when we’re not used to seeing something completely abstract. But the way in which Hunter works will confirm that the images are in fact 100% abstract. Starting with just one shape, he gradually constructs his images like building blocks without really thinking too much about what shape he will make next and what colour it will be, let alone what the overall image will look like. This way of working shares attributes with the genera ‘surrealist automatism’ or ‘automatic painting’, where the artist has no conscious view of the compositional or pictorial outcome. Hunter said this way of working was born out of a need for a ‘lack of process’ - perhaps after working in such a structured way for so long - and tries to empty his mind before each piece.

In screenprinting this way of working can be more difficult, as the sheets used for printing are usually painted in black ink and the colour palette is then decided afterwards. So for his prints James will often make an initial sketch in colour from which he then works on to make the artwork for the actual screens. Often there are changes at proofing stage, but the general feel of the image is done at the point of the sketch. In the case of Orangeola, some colours were swapped around and the paper was made a little larger to give the image more space, but the composition essentially remained as the energetic and remarkably uplifting image it came to be.

Orangeola is making its debut at the art fair New York City this weekend. With 11 colours and in an edition of 50, it’s now available at the launch price of £650.00. See more work by James Hunter on his artist’s page here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
JAMES HUNTER
Orangeola
 
 
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If you have one of the above prints that you are potentially interested in selling, please do get in touch with us via the Contact page, which you can find here.
 
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