British artist Jeremy Houghton paints incredible journeys, favouring themes of light, space and passages of time. The subjects that characterise these scenes are illuminated by his focus on the spaces in which bodies linger, shimmer, move and often take flight. Houghton’s signature flamingo portfolio started during his time in South Africa where his paintings were used to raise awareness of these eye catching endangered birds. A recent visit to the Kalahari Desert in 2023 has inspired a new collection elevated with gold leaf as a comment on the rarity of the species.
Whilst the majority of Houghton’s studio practice focuses on his flamingo paintings, over the last 20 years he has also been sought after to document the life of a number of high-profile communities, from those at Windsor Castle for HM Queen Elizabeth II to 2017’s Wimbledon championships, and the competitors at the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games. These tonal works use a reduced palette to research the representation of movement, which in turn informs his fascination of flight.
Houghton continually explores the potential of negative space to represent light, and often references ‘ma’, the concept in Japanese aesthetics that translates roughly as ‘gap’ or ‘pause’, which in traditional practice helps balance the relationship between different areas of an image. This enables his subjects to glimmer in the liminal territory between figuration and abstraction.