Having spent the last two years exhibiting at prestigious international fairs like Seattle Art Fair, Art Toronto and Miami Project, UK based artist Laurence Jones is only now getting his first solo exhibition. A relative newcomer to the art scene Laurence has been described by Saatchi as an artist to watch. His work features mostly scenes of architecture and interiors. Each painting incorporating elements of both fiction and reality. By varied means of production, Laurence is able to draw from a pool of collected images that are then digitally edited, and serve as a starting point for a process-based practice. So I sat down with Lawrence to find out more about his first solo exhibition.
What is your new work about?
My new show ‘Night Works’ brings together some recent large-scale paintings, which explore ideas about our psychological relationship to spaces and how we construct realities.
How do they differ from your earlier works?
I have been exploring different ways to heighten the psychological reading of the works, and they feel much more immersive and real than my previous work due to the larger scale and focus on the technical handling of paint.
What are you trying to explore within your works?
I am trying to explore how to construct open-ended questions with the medium of paint. I am fascinated by the idea that a viewer of these works can come to any number of possible conclusions as to what the scene is about. The idea that the viewer has a sense of familiarity with the painted environment whether through first hand experience of being in a place, or perhaps more likely in this day and age, the second and third hand experience of shared imagery and video, is interesting to me, because it calls into question the nature of that familiarity, which can be read as being almost a symptom of ‘information overload’. It also questions where real meaning lies, and where to look for it if not to our instantly shareable modes of communication.
What/who influences your practice?
I have recently been quite interested in artists that manage to convey a visceral sense of meaning through their painting, such as Anselm Kiefer and Matthias Weischer. There are many early influences that resonate through my work taken from the fields of street art, graphic design, and illustration. I also look at a great number of artists who work within the expanded field of painting, as a means of creating new possibilities within my figurative work. Also: TV and film stills, books, staged photography, graphic design, skateboard graphics, tea, and alcohol (not combined).
You have exhibited at a number of international Art fairs in major cities over the last two years, how would you describe the art scene in Seattle, Toronto, and Miami? And how do they compare with each other?
I have been exhibiting extensively over the last two years, but I feel it’s still early for me to describe the scenes in these cities, as I am yet to visit them! But they seem to be diverse art scenes, and Toronto has been exciting me from afar – lots of interesting art and music coming out of Canada at the moment.
Has this always been the style you have painted in?
More or less – I have always painted with the idea of breaking up the surface and half-erasing it as I go. That way the painting has agency, a life of its own that I am able to respond to as I work.
What atmosphere is it that you are looking to create with your solo show?
I intend for the worlds created to feel real; familiar and immersive, but balanced with the idea that the normal rules don’t apply. I intend for the works to have a dialogue with each other, and wider ideas surrounding the gaze in the current age.
How long would you say it has taken you to prepare for this show?
It has taken around 4 months, along with some fairs in between.
How do you get started creating a painting?
I usually begin by making digital mockups when I have an idea for the work or some images which I would like to work from. Then I build the scene from the back to the front, starting with underpainting and initial washes. From there I get the initial forms drawn in and begin layering the work. However, I try not to have a set format and instead respond to each work based on the effects I would like to create.
How do you add narrative to your painting?
Because the spaces I paint are highly realistic, I think the initial reaction is to look for a clearly visible narrative. The notion that you may have missed the moment, or are too early is something I want to play with. In this sense, the narrative is less something that is present in the work, but the works are about the nature of narrative itself.
How do you select a good subject for a painting in this style?
I spend a lot of time researching images and ideas pertaining to the work. Generally, I work with a combination of found images and my own photos of surfaces and textures. I try to make works that have motifs that are culturally tied to a sense of spectacle and imminent suspense: pools, cityscapes, and modernist architecture to name a few. Within that, I am able to layer in gestures that may, or may not, give a sense of narrative or presence. Ultimately, there has to be a space that the viewer can fill.
Laurence Jones solo exhibition Night Works will run from 4 – 28th May at Rebecca Hossack, Conway Street, London