James Mortimer's latest exhibition features many allusions to the lofty achievements of renaissance painting. It’s full of big ideas delivered with technical panache.
By being so singular, so transparently dedicated to his own naughty worldview, James Mortimer has amassed an army of collectors. This show will earn him many more.
Born in 1989 in Wiltshire and educated at a Catholic school, James now devotes himself to painting imagined scenes of immoral excess, mythical creatures and larger than life characters.
After gaining a degree in History of Art, James toured the post-communist countries of Serbia, Romania, Ukraine and Russia. The works that he produced since his return to England, featuring debauched, pipe-smoking sailors, were deeply influenced by the characters he observed during these sojourns.
After leaving the Iron Curtain, via a smoke-filled train to China, James became enraptured by the brightly coloured pagodas, outlandish foods and beautiful porcelains adorned with dragons and birds that he encountered.
James brings all these influences, together with his passion for architecture, human vices and the animal kingdom, into a magnificent exhibition of paintings and drawings for his first show at Catto Below.
I have a keen sense of the humour and the beauty in things which otherwise seem only awful and grotesque.”
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