Tuesday 23rd of July 2024
The Arts

Jeremy Houghton

Contemporary British artist Jeremy Houghton creates artworks that depict the dynamic world. He paints journeys, sport and adventure to explore the essence of motion, favouring themes of light, space, transience and change.

Houghton’s new exhibition, at The Osborne Studio Gallery, London SW1 (October 26th to November 4th 2016) showcases his paintings from his residency at Goodwood, where for the past year he has ventured throughout the glorious estate capturing both sporting and rural life at the spectacular ancestral home of the Duke of Richmond.

Jeremy Houghton

horse-three Jeremy Houghton

How would you describe your style and work?

With my art I depict the dynamic world – I paint transience and change, journeys, sport and adventure. I don’t specifically paint people or places; I try to visually tell their stories.

So for a new-comer to my work they would see paintings where white overpowers and bedazzles a lot of the detail. To portray motion on a flat static canvas you have to eliminate detail. When things move at speed the human eye registers very little other than simplified shape and form.

I have furthered this ‘process of elimination’ by also using a limited palette; by reducing the amount of colour a new-comer would also see distinctive monochromatic tones, making my paintings allude to old fashioned photographs and negatives, which combined with my themes, provoke playful questions of time and content.

Jeremy Houghton

Where do you usually draw inspiration from?

I have always lived in the countryside, so the rural way of life is a constant source of inspiration. I am also interested in human relationships with nature, and how people have harnessed its power for both survival and pleasure.

The great British sense of adventure is another example of man wanting to challenge and experience the sublime. So incredible journeys and past times which have an adrenaline fuelled heritage, and the places that push human endeavour to the limits are all inspiring territory.

Do you have a favourite medium? And why that particular kind?

I enjoy working and experimenting with all mediums. I think the role of an artist is similar to that of a sportsman – you must challenge yourself, ask new questions, try new techniques and leave your comfort zones. I am fortunate in that I have always been able to draw well, so my paintings have good structure and composition irrespective of medium and the level of realism.

With that said, if I had to choose one medium I would go for watercolour, purely because it is the medium of travel and adventure. You can carry some watercolours, paper and a brush in your pocket wherever you go, so like no other medium it can capture aspects of a journey that camera and video often can’t.


early-morning-gallops Jeremy Houghton final-furlong-at-goodwood

Jeremy Houghton

Why use negative space?

I don’t really see it as ‘negative space’. You cannot have movement without space so this concept is crucial to the understanding of my work.

Often in my paintings light and space become one, allowing the viewer to engage with it; I prefer to think of my paintings as short poems which encourage interpretation, rather than long essays which give all the answers.

Here’s how I answered a similar question for my retrospective at the Ashmolean museum:

‘The Eastern consciousness of place acknowledges and respects the concept of space, pause or interval with the word ‘ma’. This could be between musical notes, brush strokes, or, even, footsteps. It is when the silence can be heard. It is the emptiness that touches the edges.

It is not regarded possible to make: only when the walls and chimes have been created can ma exist, to consequently provoke its awareness. While pictorially it may be seen, at face-value, as negative space, the intense feeling of ma is a much greater enhanced vision of what exists within the form.’

How do you create a painting that uses negative space, you almost have to think of the painting in reverse?

I paint the ‘liminal’ space between objects. Technically I suppose this is seeing in the reverse, but as I have always painted space rather than form I don’t see this as extraordinary. I’m actually interested in the points and lines of intersection where the opposing shapes touch and create edges – these provide the sparks in my paintings.

I also like physically positioning myself on the edge where one can be simultaneously subjective and objective. So when I’m working ‘in residence’ I try to find the threshold of the inner sanctum, where there’s an air of suspense created when the perception meets the reality.


horse-one Jeremy Houghton nothing-in-it Jeremy Houghton

2017 Confirmed as the resident artist for the Wimbledon Championships next Summer.

2017 Artist in Residence for Ben Ainslie Racing (America’s Cup)

2016 Official Artist for the America’s Cup

2016 Official Artist for the James Hunt F1 40th Anniversary

Official Artist for the North Pole Race Against Time

2015 Artist in Residence at Goodwood for Lord March

2014 Artist in Residence at Windsor Castle for HM The Queen

2013 Artist in Residence at Highgrove for HRH The Prince of Wales

Tour Artist for the Aston Martin Centenary Tour

2012 Official BT artist for the London 2012 Olympic Games

‘Best Sporting Artist’ S.E.A.


Jeremy Houghton: October 26th 2016 to November 5th 2016 at The Osborne Studio Gallery, 2 Motcomb Street, London, SW1X 8JU

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