Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones

Nathan Jones’s recent paintings combine the rich history of Japanese nineteenth-century woodblock printmaking with the realist oil-painting tradition of Western Art. His work borrows the Eastern pictorial devises of simplification, abstraction and decoration, yet retains the exacting realism found in the West.

From his interest in Japanese prints, Nathan has developed two ongoing series: the ‘Bird’ paintings, which closely reference the prints in style and subject (notably in their frequent depictions of birds, flowers and landscape), and the ‘Silhouette’ paintings. The latter series features landscapes ‘filling’ the shape of a human silhouette – similar to the inventive way that colours were used to fill shapes in Japanese prints. Being simultaneously figure and landscape, these quietly surreal compositions go beyond either category, suggesting something introspective and emotionally resonant.

The synergy of Eastern and Western traditions lies at the heart of Nathan’s recent work. Using a number of techniques, Nathan’s paintings capture the unreal qualities of the Japanese prints: the sudden flattening of space, objects simplified to silhouettes. The repetition of decorative motifs, the heightened colouring, and the softly graduated backgrounds that mimic the inking of a woodblock. Against these ‘unnatural’ elements, the birds are detailed and realistic, casting shadows upon their flattened stages; whilst in the silhouette series, both figure and landscape can only function within each other. Therefore, both series draw attention to the juxtaposition of the real and the unreal.

Nathan Jones gained an MA in Fine Art: Painting from Wimbledon School of Art in 2004. He exhibits regularly, has twice been included in The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and has recently exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery, London.

Nathan Jones’s recent paintings combine the rich history of Japanese nineteenth-century woodblock printmaking with the realist oil-painting tradition of Western Art. His work borrows the Eastern pictorial devises of simplification, abstraction and decoration, yet retains the exacting realism found in the West.

From his interest in Japanese prints, Nathan has developed two ongoing series: the ‘Bird’ paintings, which closely reference the prints in style and subject (notably in their frequent depictions of birds, flowers and landscape), and the ‘Silhouette’ paintings. The latter series features landscapes ‘filling’ the shape of a human silhouette – similar to the inventive way that colours were used to fill shapes in Japanese prints. Being simultaneously figure and landscape, these quietly surreal compositions go beyond either category, suggesting something introspective and emotionally resonant.

The synergy of Eastern and Western traditions lies at the heart of Nathan’s recent work. Using a number of techniques, Nathan’s paintings capture the unreal qualities of the Japanese prints: the sudden flattening of space, objects simplified to silhouettes. The repetition of decorative motifs, the heightened colouring, and the softly graduated backgrounds that mimic the inking of a woodblock. Against these ‘unnatural’ elements, the birds are detailed and realistic, casting shadows upon their flattened stages; whilst in the silhouette series, both figure and landscape can only function within each other. Therefore, both series draw attention to the juxtaposition of the real and the unreal.

Nathan Jones gained an MA in Fine Art: Painting from Wimbledon School of Art in 2004. He exhibits regularly, has twice been included in The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and has recently exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery, London.