Babylon

by Jeremy Houghton

Jeremy has a real passion for birds – specifically, for depicting them in flight.

This interest was ignited when he began watching the local flamingo population in Cape Town, where he spent a number of years running an art school after finishing his degree in law (something he says he hated and did because art wasn’t seen to offer “proper” prospects). Houghton’s images of migrating flocks are unexpectedly quiet pieces, with an even more marked deployment of empty space than the sports paintings. Houghton says that in essence all his paintings are an attempt to depict movement, and that blank space is crucial to this, given that by nature movement sits right at the edge of what it is possible to represent.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 39.4 x 39.4 ins/ 100.0 x 100.0 cms
SIGNATURE: Signed, titled and dated 2018 verso.
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

Catalogue No: 5628 Categories: ,

For Houghton, his more personal work and concerns are evoked in the plains of South Africa. It was here, when he was Head of Art at Cape Town School of Art, that he spent time in the unique, immense African landscapes watching the wildlife. Inspired by the country’s scale and skies, he became fascinated with birds in flight.

This work is a wonderful example of Jeremy’s love of capturing birds in flight and this piece captures the limitlessness of flight and its ‘pathways and passageways’.

Acquired directly from the artist

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Jeremy Houghton is a British painter whose work attempts to capture extraordinary journeys. With a career marked by contrasting experiences and places, as well as a long-standing commitment to wildlife and the countryside, Houghton’s work spans a broad spectrum – from the arresting drama of dynamic sports to the ever changing patterns of migrating flamingos.

Since he began to paint full-time in the mid-2000s, Houghton has divided his practice between creating standalone pieces in the studio using reference photographs and sketches, and producing work via documentary residences. Over the last ten years he has been invited to detail the life of a number of high-profile communities, from those at Windsor Castle and Highgrove to last year’s Wimbledon championships, and the competitors at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. With each of these projects Houghton is interested in getting beyond public perception, documenting instead the everyday scenes that characterise an event or place.

Although Houghton’s focus ranges quite widely, his technique remains a constant. Emphasis on painted shapes of light and space contrasting against areas of colour enables his subjects to shimmer in the liminal territory between figuration and abstraction. With extraneous detail removed, the paintings are also hard to place, giving them an ahistorical quality that serves to underline their fluidity.

 

Houghton continually explores the potential of negative space, and often references ‘ma’, the concept in Japanese aesthetics that translates roughly as ‘gap’ or ‘pause’, and which in traditional practice helps balance the relationship between different areas of an image. This focus on the space between things lends his paintings a surprising combination of abundance and delicacy. His subjects are then held on a very thin, almost invisible line between motion and the ability to transcend time.

 

If the artwork is up to £25,00 in value, and the artist is still alive, Trinity House can arrange a 0% interest loan through the Own Art scheme. Own Art is a Creative United initiative supported by Arts Council England, Creative Scotland and Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Some other restrictions apply see…

www.ownart.org.uk/trinity-house-modern

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