FROM 29TH MARCH UNTIL 16TH APRIL 2022
THE OSBORNE STUDIO GALLERY
A FRESH TAKE ON LIFE IN THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE, HUNTING, SHOOTING AND FISHING, ALL WITH A LAYER OF GENTLE IRONY
Jonathan Armigel Wade (British painter born 1960) developed his own distinctive vision of the English landscape, calling it ‘curvispective’ as a reference to its low billowing hills and winding lanes, where horses hurtle over fences, hounds speed through fields, guns prepare for the partridge shoot.
He takes a light hearted, affectionate approach when painting the countryside, its people, pleasures and pastimes, sporting life and intimate family moments. He lives in North East Lincolnshire, and a likeness of his own ‘vaguely Georgian’ house appears in many paintings. He is a country gentleman, former Army officer, doesn’t ride but since schooldays, always loved shooting, did a ‘lot of beagling’ . The scenes he captures could be riding to hounds or a long summer afternoon of cricket on the village green, windblown beach picnics, swimming under a bright moon, leisurely rural rides. He describes his own joy in planting trees, creates orchards on his land from seeds, nuts and cuttings, warmed by the Aga.
Jonathan Armigel Wade was born in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, America, in 1960. His father was an army officer, Wade the third of six children, served in the Royal Highland Fusiliers from 1978 until 1991, when he left the army as Captain, mentioned in despatches, to become a painter. He had no formal art training, but the finest English education at Lancing College from 1974-8, later sponsored by the Army at St Andrews University to gain his master’s degree. He had three tours of Northern Ireland, took part in the Gulf War, left the army to become a painter and travelled to paint in Pakistan, Bosnia, and India.
In his own words, describing his painting, he says: ‘I am using three-word titles, as part of the work, and I think very hard about it.’ Characteristic titles: ‘Briefing the Guns’, ‘The Loose Horse’ He makes many of his own frames, painted black with elements of scarlet.
He calls his paintings ‘little excursions for the mind,’ attempting to analyse the creative process.
He has held 35 exhibitions so far. His paintings and sketches can be seen at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, and the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst.
David Buckman, journalist, art historian, author of the dictionary ‘ ARTISTS IN BRITAIN SINCE 1945’ (PUBLISHED BY SANSOM & Co) encapsulates the Wade unique style with rare perception. David surveyed some fourteen thousand British subjects for this monumental work, and having viewed tens of thousands of images since, he declares that a ‘Wade is unmistakeably a Wade’ He adds that it is a ‘rare quality.’
He continues: ‘For me, Jonathan Armigel Wade is the delightful ‘Master of the Unexpected’ With Wade, you can never be certain what he will do next; racing and military scenes, seascapes, quirky interiors, bizarre figure studies, landscapes and buildings that seem to dance, and so it goes on. Draughtsmanship excellent, the colours please, enigma and humour abound, injected with his unique ‘curvispective’ style.’
Jonathan explains his creative process: ‘I was inspired by Paul Maze, a French impressionist painter in my wife’s family, Churchill’s painting companion between the wars. He used to say ‘always look for the curve in any landscape.’
‘ Many of my landscapes feature a medium-sized, vaguely Georgian house, a little like our house, but not too grand, or too posh, trying to be very low key. It is just something very British, a nice house in rolling hills. When you include a particular element, one picture often leads to another. There was a wood I liked in one I picture, and then I put one similar in another painting.
I love all the British countryside and I have a good memory for images. Ideas pop up anywhere – a view, or something on a shoot day, perhaps. I have seen a cloud recently, with a dark horizon and a grey sky rising up. When you see something you scribble it down and then you need another idea that goes with it. Once you have had the idea, that is the main idea, and the rest is a slog.’