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JAMES HUNTER | NEW ORIGINAL PAINTINGS

April 25th 2014
This week we’re pleased to be presenting a series of 2014 paintings by James Hunter, made exclusively for Eyestorm. Angie talks about the work below.

I can’t believe we’re nearly at the end of April, but spring is now upon us here in London so it’s all good. It’s been a prolific year for James Hunter so far, who has made a number of original paintings exclusively for Eyestorm to exhibit at the various art fairs we’ve taken part in so far in 2014. First was Battersea in London in the middle of March, which was followed immediately by one in Hong Kong, and then the most recent in New York City a couple of weeks ago. At each of these three fairs we’ve shown two of James’ paintings alongside his debut screenprint Elegantissima which was released just over a month ago and has had a fantastic response so far with quite a number from the edition of 50 now sold.

The five new paintings we’re presenting online today are Fiesta Gitana, Belle Etoile, Jackanapes, Ostara and City of Haarlem. All produced this year, the latter two were made first and see James introduce a ‘landscape’ element into his constructions, a new departure for the artist. Previous to these, his brightly coloured shapes - which James paints onto the canvas with an empty mind, not thinking too much about what form the image will take - floated in space with a white void around them.

At one point, as seen in works such as Jeddeloh and Antony Waterer, these orbiting structures moved to the edge of the canvas, as if drifting beyond the perfectly constructed handmade white tray frames. Now they’re back centred but have a ‘base’, as if they’ve landed. Ostara and City of Haarlem are more ‘grounded’ so to speak, the block green in Ostara appearing almost like the land and the blue in City of Haarlem like the sea. For me in the latter, the configuration of shapes is like a raft or a boat riding a huge wave. The brightly-coloured forms could be people, animals or just inanimate objects, all piled up and balancing in a bid to survive the turbulent ocean. This is one of the fantastic things about James Hunter’s paintings; they can be interpreted as you wish, their abstract appearance feeding your imagination.

Fiesta Gitana, Belle Etoile, and Jackanapes see the position of the compositions shift again to a position seen in early 2013 works. At the time of making these pieces James was working on his screenprint edition Elegantissima, and these three paintings take on more of the appearance of this, with white space surrounding the centred arrangement. Of these I particularly like Belle Etoile; I’m not sure exactly why, but I’m fond of the swooping turquoise brush stroke at the bottom left that acts almost like a platform for the rest of the shapes that seem to be piled on top of one another. I also like the placing of the centrepiece at the top which is comparable to a lamp shining light onto everything below it and I’d take a guess that it was this that determined the title of the painting - which, like all of Hunter’s titles, was randomly selected from a book about plants - perhaps because of its ‘bell-like’ appearance or the fact that it reminded him of the bowl-shaped flowers seen on this particular plant.

This element of mystery in Hunter’s work is very appealing. Each piece leaves you wondering why, how and what for. Lively, energetic and with an overall feeling of optimism, there’s never a dull moment.

See all available works by James Hunter in more detail here.
ANGIE DAVEY
Creative Director
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