Justin Mortimer


Justin Mortimer Djinn III
Justin Mortimer Kult II
Justin Mortimer NYX I
‘Djinn III’
2015, oil on panel
26 x 17.5 cm
‘Kult II’
2014, oil on panel
43 x 25 cm
‘Nyx I’
2015, oil on canvas
40 x 30 cm
Justin Mortimer Kult IV
‘Kult IV’
2015, oil on canvas
50.4 x 40 cm

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Justin Mortimer (b.1970) is a British artist whose paintings consistently invite us to question the relationship between subject matter and content, beauty and horror, and between figuration and abstraction. While the imagery is almost exclusively pitiless, the texturing of the paint, the play between light and shade and the passages that lead from photo-realist definition to near-abstract formlessness are so sensitively handled as to make the work at least partially redemptive as well as to indicate a key philosophical dimension: the oblique relationship between evidence and interpretation.

Mortimer’s new paintings reflect upon a world in a state of disorder. Mortimer is an avid observer of the social and political upheaval that is the staple of the international news agenda and here are echoes of recent events in Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria and Afghanistan. Yet Mortimer wrings from this tortured narrative of violence and oppression images of both hope and despair and well as a strange and troubling beauty.

Mortimer’s paintings are not reportage or documentation, they are far too allusive and de-specified for that. Instead they represent a powerful and poetic visualisation of contemporary life, in all its grim and magical reality.

Justin Mortimer graduated from the Slade School of Art in 1992 and lives and works in London. He has won several prestigious awards including the EAST Award (2004), NatWest Art Prize (1996) and the BP National Portrait Award (1991). Recent solo exhibitions include Haunch of Venison, London (2012), Mihai Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles (2011) and Master Piper, London (2010). Recent group exhibitions include How to Tell The Future from the Past, Haunch of Venison, New York (2013), Nightfall, MODEM Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen, Hungary (2012), MAC Birmingham (2011) and the 2011 Prague Biennial. His work is in numerous private and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, London, the National Portrait Gallery, Canada, Royal Society for the Arts, Bank of America, NatWest Bank and the Flash Art Museum of Contemporary Art in Trevi, Italy.

Courtesy Parafin Gallery