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JONATHAN PURDAY | ‘MEDITATION IN RED’ AND ‘CANOPY MEMORIES’
February 21st 2020
Influenced by photography, poetry and observation of his close surroundings, British artist Jonathan Purday has developed his artistic practice over twenty-five years. With themes highly informed by the natural world, urban architecture and how we consume places in the world around us, the works are often drawn from memory and elegantly flirting with perspective and scale - cascading the landscape in an illuminating light. Purday’s works are surreal in their composition and use of colour - but have the precision and delicacy of a Japanese Haiku poem.
by Henrik Riis
PRINT EDITION RELEASE
Purday graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Bath University, United Kingdom, in 1994. In the years that followed the artist explored his close urban surroundings, creating works with an unrestricted abstract palette; scenes of London streets and busy local carparks, with cars in bright colours casting long purple shadows. Early in his practice, Purday started to investigate the impact we have on the natural world and historic places in a desire to groom them for maximum tourist revenue.

It was Purday’s observations of “manicured tourism” which led to a new series of work inspired by Marjorelle Gardens, a relatively small garden in the centre of Marrakech in Morocco. The secluded botanical garden is an oasis of calm regularly visited by the artist since 1998. Towering trees and totemic cactuses of the close-by desert are leading towards the characteristic blue-painted holiday homes; one famously owned by the late French fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent. The extraordinary and harsh North African light, breaking every scene into light and shadow, became the basis of several paintings in vibrant colours; a distinctive palette comparable to that of artists of the American Modernism movement in the early twentieth century.

In 2010 a couple of Purday’s friends moved to central Portugal to open a yoga retreat in Oleiros; a place of curvaceous hill-sides stretching up from the river Rio Zëzere with untouched rugged pine forests, as if it was the opening scene of ‘Red Squirrel’ by the Spanish filmmaker Julio Medem. Purday’s stay in Portugal for about a year had a significant impact on his practice in the twenty-tens. Surrounded by hillsides of endless forests, Purday developed a series of work of solitary trees expanding into the blue sky above it; a theme he regularly returns to. One painting, ‘Haiku Memories’ (2013), combined the artist’s love for poetry and the Portuguese wilderness.
JONATHAN PURDAY
Meditation in Red, 2015

Edition of 50
92(w) x 93(h) cm
36.22(w) x 36.61(h) inches
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Jonathan Purday (British, b. 1969)
92(w) x 93(h) cm
36.22(w) x 36.61(h) inches
12 colour screenprint on Somerset Satin 410 gsm paper.

Signed and numbered on front.
Edition of 50
PRICE
$ 860.00
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“The snow / Reminded me / How green / The grass was”. Presented by a fellow student, dressed head to toe in black, these four poetic verses were Purday’s introduction in his teens to the shortest, simplest and purest form of Japanese poetry dating back to the seventeenth century: Haiku. Similar to the photography, used by the artist as reference to other works, Haiku uses imageries and appeals to the reader’s senses and emotions through words and short verses. An aspirational Haiku poem is like a painting - and it was Haiku that inspired Purday to paint ‘Haiku Memory’ (2013); a painting of a tree viewed in a perspective from the lower ground and up - and a canopy of pink and red cherry flowers set against a deep blue sky.

Primarily a painter, Purday decided to explore screen printing as a new medium in 2015. While the two print editions, Meditation in Red and Canopy Memories, sharing subject matter, composition and perspective - the inspiration for the two pieces comes from different parts of his practice.

Meditation in Red was influenced by Haiku poetry. The tree and the natural world in general are often elements in Japanese poetry - and with the short economic structure of only seventeen syllables in three rows, Haiku is visually suggestive but never loses its clarity. As such Meditation in Red is a work that lives up to its origin of reference: informed by dreamlike recollections and with the clarity of Haiku. A singular cherry tree in pink blossom stretches diagonally across the surface of the paper into a deepening blue sky. Used as backdrop, a few white clouds, angled unnaturally to reassemble reality, is giving the viewer the perspective of looking upwards. The work is full of Japanese symbolism; the blossoming cherry tree is often referring to “beauty” and the passing clouds in the sky to “impermanence”, leading to emotions of nostalgia. The twelve-layer colour screenprint is kept in a palette which is enduring, bringing memories of a time past.

JONATHAN PURDAY
Canopy Memories, 2015

Edition of 50
92(w) x 93(h) cm
36.22(w) x 36.61(h) inches
MAKE AN OFFER
Art is about talking with each other and via ‘Make an Offer’ you can have a direct conversation with us and suggest a price for this artwork.
Your Offer *
Name *
Email *
Phone number *
Any Comment? *
* Required fields
Jonathan Purday (British, b. 1969)
92(w) x 93(h) cm
36.22(w) x 36.61(h) inches
7 colour screenprint on Somerset Satin 410 gsm paper.

Signed and numbered on front.
Edition of 50
PRICE
$ 795.00
MAKE AN OFFER
Find art trends here >
In contrast to the inspiration from poetry, Canopy Memories takes a simpler form and is based on personal memories. In this second screenprint, the scale of tree feels exaggerated as it is soaring upwards, giving it a childhood view. At school in South East London he would often climb trees with a friend in the neighbouring meadows to escape the hustle and bustle of big city life. As with Meditation in Red, the composition is surreal and not intended to be a depiction of reality. The canopy seems tiny with only few branches and sporadic leaves - and the striking blue sky, fading from a dark blue in the horizon to a lighter nuance above, is contrary to the real sky. Though Canopy Memories is not informed by Haiku poetry, it is easy to recognise the connection between the two; how one tree from a Japanese poem reminded the artist of “How green / The grass was”.

Following his first solo show in London in 2007, Jonathan Purday has been represented by Eyestorm and his work widely exhibited in Europe, as well as North America and South-East Asia. He is currently working on a series of small watercolour paintings in Norfolk, a south-eastern coastal part of England, to accompany new larger pine forest paintings.

The two multi-layered screenprint editions Meditation in Red and Canopy Memories, each an edition of 50, were released in an exclusive collaboration with Purday in 2015.

You can find more information about the two prints editions on Jonathan Purday’s artist page here.
 
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INTEREST IN EARLY PRINT EDITIONS BY LUCIE BENNETT
Pink Knickers
For more than a decade Lucie Bennett has been seducing viewers with her silhouette line drawings of haunting sirens, alluring pin-ups and supernatural nymphs. Her print editions from 2005 - 2012 are increasingly being requested by collectors.

If you own a print, such as Pink Knickers, Green Felt Tip Girl or Red Felt Tip Girl and you wish to sell, we have clients who are looking for select pieces. You can get in touch with us via the Contact page, which you can find here.
 
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