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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Jonathan Wateridge

“The group series explores ideas of role play, identity and why people choose to commemorate a collective moment. It is a moment that is 'real' but also performed and I find that tension interesting to examine. For Sandinistas I was exploring images of extreme environments, and people who operate outside 'civilisation'. Military paintings are traditionally associated with commemoration of victories and the celebration of the State. Painting guerrilla fighters in this way undermines this tradition; they represent something that has (or has been) 'lost'. The figures are painted in a very realistic way so that they are pushed out into our space in direct confrontation, while the background is flat and theatrical, redolent of an anthropological display. The painting is about our understanding and consumption of this type of picture. It presents a fiction that has become an archetypal or generic image that has little to do with the reality of the fighters’ existence.”

“My paintings construct images you feel you could have seen before. They play on a sense of the familiar. Jungle Scene With Plane Wreck is the last painting from a series of landscapes of forgotten disasters that were originally inspired by zoological habitats and dioramas, or the painted backdrops you see in museum displays. It’s essentially a B-movie aesthetic meets the Sublime. They all contain wrecks of obsolete modernist engineering rotting away in fictional landscapes. I started this painting by making a scale model of the scene – I built a plane and wrecked it – and worked directly from the miniature. This allows me to think of my work in relation to cinematography. Akin to making a film, I can compose the image and direct the lighting as I see fit.”

Born in Zambia in 1972

Lives and works in London


© Jonathan Wateridge

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