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      "As a child I loved one painting above all others. In it a figure with a billowing crimson

cape steps off a chariot. He is taking a big step from quite a height but his leg, which is taking

all the weight, does not rest on anything. His heel nearly connects to the hub of the chariot wheel,

waiting to be pulled by two leopards (or are they cheetahs?) but it doesn’t. He’s in mid-air.

This (and the cheetahs) intrigued me every time I saw it. And it still does.

...............Something is wrong but the painting of it makes it right."

..........................................Jonathan Parker 2018 about Bacchus and Ariadne by Titian 1523

 

The version of Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne that Parker saw as a child used to hang in his

grandmother's flat at Wallington, in Northumberland. This National Trust country house, Wallington,

has been an important place for Parker's artwork (see his portraits at artuk.org) and his relationship

to the past there culminated in the Wallington series; ten large atmospheric interiors in which

different generations jump across time. The Bacchus and Ariadne now hangs in his Wimbledon studio.

 

Another wild figure that Parker would concentrate on as a child, particularly in moments of fear,

was Tarzan. The arc of his swing resolves any crisis and so it is, too, in Parker's mature art practice.

He avoids using a grid of squares to compose a picture, instead learning to use a jumble of diagonals

and arcs to jump from artwork to artwork, whatever the subject matter. Importantly, he can keep his

head still and remain free to make figurative marks of imagination.

 

Since 2011 Parker has kept up a permanent showcase agreement with Lloyds Private Bank in Mayfair

- the Hill Street Hang - exhibiting his River Collection (also shown at the River and Rowing Museum),

his Neptune Collection inspired by Venice and his Honour paintings of standing soldier figures.

Currently the Hang features large paintings from the Flights from Gravity series, marking 100 years since

seaplanes were pioneered by the artist's great uncle John Lankester Parker.

 

The artist continues to innovate and has also enjoyed the patronage of King's College School,

Wimbledon and Trevelyan College, Durham University. The latter held a Jonathan Parker

symposium and exhibition Familiarity and Mystery in 2017. This followed his inclusion in

Spanish Art in County Durham, a book commissioned by Jonathan Ruffer at the start of the

Auckland Castle Project. Other paintings and drawings by the artist sit in collections of 20th

century art owned by people well-known in the art world, including Danny Katz.

 

Born in Belfast (1968), he grew up in Twickenham Middlesex, attending KCS Wimbledon

and Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts in the mid '80s. He then lived in Spain for two years

before graduating from Northumbria University with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art in 1992 and was

winner of the Royal Academy Richard Ford Award in 1992. He undertook a screen print

apprenticeship in Havana, Cuba, combining this unique experience with his first exhibition

of drawings outside Europe ('Dibujos' 1991). His first solo show in London was with Mercury

in Cork Street in 2000.

 

Apart from Zaragoza, Havana, Newcastle and Belfast, Parker has always lived in London, now

having the same studio in Wimbledon for over 25 years. In tandem with his family commitments - 3

children approaching and in early adulthood - Parker's dealings with the art world have been guided

throughout by his wife Helena Christy.

 

 

About the Artist archive page 2009

History and Sales archive page 2012

 

".....................A good artist is like a good joke because however passionate and serious the artist

or hilarious and funny the joke, success for both depends on something spontaneous,

as in the old joke about the secret of great comedy: I say, I say, I say, what is the secret of

grTIMING"..................................Jonathan Parker 2015 in Hill Street