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JONATHAN PURDAY | NEW PAINTINGS

August 22nd 2014
Jonathan Purday creates colourful cinematic scenes drawn from personal experiences. Angie talks about four new works below.

When I first became aware of Jonathan Purday’s work, probably around 12 or 13 years ago now, the subject matter he chose to recreate in his paintings was very different to that of the works he’s producing today. Relying very much on observation and his immediate surroundings, Jonathan paints his recent personal experiences, usually from memory.

Back in the early 2000s, his work was inspired by urban life and more surreal in terms of concept. Alongside commissioned album cover artwork for British band Gomez - Purday paintings grace the covers of their 2002 album ‘In Our Gun’ and the single ‘Shot Shot’ - scenes of car parks and London streets were not uncommon in his personal work. Instead of working with the muted colour palette that’s often used in city scenes however, Purday would always use vibrant hues, often of pinks, purples and blues, to illustrate his memories of a place and this use of bright uplifting colour has stuck with him throughout his career, and is still displayed in current works.

Purday’s move to rural Portugal in 2010 is apparent in paintings he made around that time. More than merely depictions of scenes he was surrounded by, these works seek to address the rugged and untamed charm of the wilderness. Always having been intrigued by film, some of these works were very cinematic, such as ‘Homage to Red Squirrel’ which was made in response to a film of the same name. This merging of ideas taken from everyday life and those of fiction from the movies sees Purday blurring the lines between reality and the imagined. Three of the recent paintings we’re presenting today see the artist continue to paint his immediate surroundings as he depicts scenes from a trip to Wales and views of the Iron Age hill fort of Garn Fadryn and the neighbouring countryside.

In my favourite of the new paintings, Anomaly, Purday references previous paintings such as the mighty Green Healing and the already mentioned ‘Homage to Red Squirrel’ as well as its sequel, Homage to Red Squirrel III - which was used on the cover of Nathan Filer’s award-winning 2013 novel ‘The Shock of The Fall’ - by taking the viewpoint of looking upwards from the base of a tall tree. Exquisitely painted in Purday’s signature style, this piece demonstrates strength and beauty, despite its title suggesting imperfection. The tree is a lone pine situated in a meadow in Sidcup, Kent, and a place Purday used to hang out when he was a teenager. He said of the piece “I gave it a background of just sky to enhance the sense of placelessness but also as an abstracting device, not dissimilar from the way artists Alessandro Raho and Wilhelm Sasnal use backgrounds. I feel this gives the tree a timeless, totemic quality.”

The most dominant element of this piece is its composition, which forces us to feel small as we gaze up towards the highest branches. I find this quite pleasing, inspiring and optimistic; a metaphor perhaps for life and everything it may have in store for us.

See more work by Jonathan Purday on Eyestorm here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
JONATHAN PURDAY
 
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