For more information about Jonathan and his work click here to see his Harrow Open Studio’s artist profile.
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Jonathan’s thoughts on his latest work
“Perhaps because of the pandemic my imagination has taken a turn towards Momento Mori, the medieval idea presenting images of the dead to remind one to live a virtuous life so as to obtain salvation.
I think the present calamity has had a similar effect on our society as the Black Death did on 14th Century Europe (when Momento Mori themes were popular). So, like others, this year, I have been conscious that as artists we should respond to this new ’Zeitgeist’ that is now forming our consciousness. I became fascinated by ‘Bog Bodies’, the remains of people which have been found in peat bogs in, Denmark, Ireland and in Cheshire, Northern England.
Archaeologists believe that the bodies are the result of deliberately sacrificed victims placed in the peat bogs in the Iron Age, as part of fertility rituals and in times of crisis. The preservative properties of peat being apparent and thought to keep the sacrificed victims between ‘our’ world and the next – in a sort of in-between place – in limbo.
In response, I have started making paintings: portraits of the long dead. Based on the archaeological photographs, but also the feeling of being drawn to acquaint myself with people who lived in the time of Christ, Julius Caesar or the British Queen Boudica: to try to engage visually with distant ancestors and stimulate my ‘collective unconsciousness’ in a Jungian sense.
Much of my work is not intended for a domestic setting. I hope to show my latest work in Exhibitions and hope to attract new patrons or collectors more generally.