James Middleton’s practice draws together the loose memory of dreams through the expression of oil on canvas. The purpose of his work is an attempt to contain what is left from the memory of the dream.
One of the main concepts that seem to consistently arise in his dreams, is his relationship with meat and animals, which is also interesting how the perception of meat has changed throughout history. In the past, meat was used to represent wealth and greed, but today it ironically appears to be controversial and to some grotesque. In his study of meat and animals, he has experimented with anthropomorphising animals, much like the cartoons of my childhood. Positioning animals in settings commonly associated with humans. The idea behind this is to alter the symbol of meat in the painting to mean nothing, as for the majority of people meat has this effect, we disconnect the food from the animal it from the animal.
Middleton’s most recent series looks at the tradition of portraiture in particularly the seriousness of a seated portrait. The series started as a picture of his father seated in a garden chair. After a number of rough sketches, James found that the chair became as much a part of the painting as the figure, to the point that figure was excluded altogether. Comically, the chair itself conveys enough of an emotive response on its own, and arguably says more that the figure has left what we see in the confines of the canvas.
The absence of people in his work in this series has allowed him to focus and experiment with the form of chairs themselves, mimicking highlights and reflections with long agile brushes strokes of colour in oil paint. Relishing in the thought that a mass-produced plastic garden chair could be represented in oil as an original piece of art.
'Tall Tales of Transparent Things'
Fitzrovia Gallery, Kings Cross, London - 2019
The Five Bells, New Cross, London - 2019
The University of the Arts London, Wimbledon, Degree show - 2018
Wimbledon Space, London, - 2018
The Generation Exchange
The Wimbledon Space, Wimbledon College of Art, London, - 2017
Espascio Gallery, London, April 17, April 23 - 2017
Reigate School of Art, East Surrey, March 21 - March 31 - 2017
Contemporary Figurative Painting
Wimbledon Library, London, March 10 - March 14 - 2017
Clyde & Co LLP 2018/2019 Art Award,