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JONATHAN PURDAY | NEW ORIGINAL PAINTINGS

February 15th 2015
Jonathan Purday’s new series of paintings present a stunning depiction of towering stand-alone trees. Angie talks more about the work below.

This new series of paintings by Jonathan Purday certainly has the ‘wow’ factor. Reasonably large in scale (each is just over a meter high), without being too large for an average sized room, these vibrant and inspiring studies of tall towering trees are Purday’s most recent accomplishment and do not disappoint.

Something I’ve always been a fan of in Jonathan Purday’s paintings is the composition. The way in which he places his subjects on the canvas - whether it’s a tree, a building or a street scene - seems to have the ability to somehow transport you as the viewer right to that place in time, giving the sense of experiencing that particular moment as he has. A lot of this is down to the fact that Purday often works from photographs that he’s taken, thus depicting his own viewpoint, but there’s more to it than this, something I can’t quite put my finger on. Perhaps it’s the use of light or the vibrancy of the paint, but it’s definitely something, and I like it, a lot.

The three new paintings are quite different to each other as individual works, however share certain characteristics, most obviously that of the chosen viewpoint. As you look at any of these works, you feel as if you’re gazing upwards towards the very top branches and beyond. For me, this gives an enormous feeling of freedom, inspiration and calm as I imagine being there at the base of the trunk, looking up into the endless summer sky.

Homage to Red Squirrel 7 is the seventh in the series of works with the same title, the first of which was painted in 2009 and made in response to woodland featured in Spanish film ‘La Ardilla Roja’ (1993). With its reassuring natural hues of green, its main feature - an imposing figure of a tree - for some reason makes you feel safe as you glare up the solid trunk into the slightly out of control branches that grow beyond the edges of the canvas, as if acting as a shelter from everything.

The lighter feel of Haiku Memory is refreshing and uplifting as what appears to be a maple tree, with its vibrant red leaves contrasting against the clear blue sky, gives the impression it has the ability to continue to grow forever. Where the other two paintings were made from real photographs taken by the artist, Haiku Memory was developed from a series of images, with the tree and the sky being extracted from different photos. Having referenced and been influenced in the past by Haiku poems - a form of Japanese poetry that are often printed in a single vertical line and traditionally take reference from the natural world - the oriental feel to this piece was what inspired its title.

Anomaly 2 is the tallest of the three paintings and subsequently appears to depict the tallest tree. Painted from photographs taken near to where Purday lives in South East London (would you believe?), the reason for the title of this work was because of the tree’s solitude location, standing alone in the urban jungle. The blue in this painting really is out of this world, but my favourite feature is the flash of sunlight on the trunk, right at the top where the branches begin. That, paired with the clearer than clear blue sky, suggests a boiling hot day in the height of summer. Absolutely perfect.

Homage to Red Squirrel 7, Haiku Memory and Anomaly 2 are all one-off paintings and are now available to buy online. See them in more detail here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
JONATHAN PURDAY
 
JONATHAN PURDAY
 
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