Parafin presents an exhibition by the acclaimed British painter Justin Mortimer. This exhibition of new work coincides with his first solo exhibition in a public space at the Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham until 31 May. Justin Mortimer’s latest paintings reflect upon a world in a state of disorder. The artist is an avid observer of the social and political upheaval that defines the international news agenda and these works echo recent events in the US, Ukraine, Venezuela, Syria and Afghanistan, as well as the ongoing Ebola crisis in Africa. Yet Mortimer wrings from this narrative of violence and oppression images of both hope and despair as well as a strange and troubling beauty.
In the painting ‘Der Besucher’ (2014) ominous figures clad in Hazchem suits are relocated to an idyllic landscape reminiscent of the Swiss Alps. In this and other paintings space is disrupted by plumes of colour produced by smoke flares. Despite Mortimer’s characteristic ambiguity, the suggestion of civil unrest is unavoidable. Such works elide the medical crisis in Africa with the riots in Ferguson, Missouri to visualise a world in which nothing is stable or certain.
Image: Justin Mortimer ‘Der Besucher’ (2014), courtesy of Parafin
The unity of Mortimer’s images keeps on breaking. Elisions of imagery suggest a fragmented and fragmentary reality. This is not just a reflection of the ways in which one’s perception of the contemporary world is a kind of ever-evolving collage of imagery culled from an ongoing overload of print and digital information, but also suggests of the ways in which the very fabric of society is increasingly fractured. The world is constantly shifting, and Mortimer’s paintings hint at the tectonic cracks and shifts appearing in the old world order.
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 Djanogly Art Gallery, Lakeside Arts, Nottingham (2015), Future Perfect, Singapore (2015), Haunch of Venison, London (2012), Mihai Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles (2011) and Master Piper, London (2010). Recent group exhibitions include This Side of Paradise, S|2, London (2014), 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) 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.
Justin Mortimer: Kult – Parafin Gallery – 22 May to 27 June 2015