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Luke Elwes

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Luke Elwes Paintings


Luke Elwes is making pictures which are at once about the particular places he has visited and a record of that journey into self which is the lot of the true contemplative. In his recent evocations Elwes maps the almost-submerged land where earth sea and sky not only meet but mingle intimately. He writes of the making of these elusive paintings (apparently empty yet full of detail) as encompassing “the pursuit of silence, a balance between something and nothing, that holds the eye and stills the impulse to literal transcription”. The map is nearly erased, a distressed palimpsest; it’s difficult to decipher a clear meaning. The viewer must, like a scryer, read the signs and interpret accordingly'.
Andrew Lambirth
(catalogue text, published by Art First Contemporary Art, London, May 2002)

Luke Elwes was born in 1961 in London, where he now lives and works. His early years were spent in Iran, where the light and space of the mountains and desert were a formative influence. Between 1980 and 1985 he studied History at Bristol University and Painting at Camberwell School of Art (UAL), and in 2007 was awarded an MA distinction in Art History from Birkbeck College, London University.While working at Christies he began to travel and write, and after meeting Bruce Chatwin in 1987 he went to the central Australian desert to explore the landscape and its use in aboriginal storytelling and artforms. Since then he has continued to travel extensively, discovering and revisiting remote locations in India, Asia Minor and North Africa. In 1998 he was artist in residence on an expedition to Mount Kailash, a holy mountain in western Tibet. Since 2000 he has also worked for extensive periods on an island off the East Coast of the UK. In 2013 he was awarded a grant to study at the Vermont Studio Center and in 2015 will be artist in residence at the Albers Foundation, Connecticut.

Since 1990 his work has been shown in the following galleries and institutions: Adam Gallery (London), Broadbent (London), Art First (London), Browse & Darby (London), Art First (New York), Galerie Vieille du Temple (Paris), Galerie Marceau Bastille (Paris), Grand Palais (Paris), Galleria Ceribelli (Milan & Bergamo).Royal Academy London, Christies London, Barbican Gallery London, National Trust, Estorick Collection London, Kettles Yard Cambridge, Southampton Art Gallery, Bury Art Gallery Manchester, Young Gallery Salisbury, Minories Colchester. He also writes about contemporary art for journals including Modern Painters, Royal Academy Magazine, Galleries Magazine and Abstract In 2011 he was invited to give an ‘Artist’s Eye’ talk at the National Gallery.

Since 2007 Elwes has shown with a group of London painters, including Tony Bevan, Christopher Le Brun, Arturo Di Stefano,Timothy Hyman, Andrzej Jackowski, Merlin James, Glenys Johnson, Ken Kiff, R.B.Kitaj, Lino Mannocci and Charlotte Verity. New paintings and work on paper by these artists have been jointly exhibited at Galeria Ceribelli, Bergamo (Italy 2007, 2008), the Estorick Collection (London 2010), and Clifford Chance Gallery (London 2015).

United Kingdom


Web Links
Luke Elwes website archive
Luke Elwes news & projects
Adam Gallery, London
Broadbent Gallery, London
Ceribelli Gallery, Italy
Luke Elwes on wikipedia
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