Flowers Gallery is pleased to present The River, a series of recent paintings by Jiro Osuga charting the dramatic vistas of London’s River Thames from the intimate and personal perspective of walking its south bank.
Following an initial painting completed in 2018 featuring a section of the river on the artist’s daily commute from Kew Bridge to Barnes, Osuga spent the Summer of 2019 walking on the south side of the Thames between the Southbank and the Thames Barrier, drawing, as he states, “every single building, every bridge, every kind of boat.”
The drawings provided the basis for paintings that would each present a composite view of the north-facing riverscape, featuring dramatic shifts in vantage point and perspective. Often painted in long, panoramic formats, Osuga creates the sensation of walking along the river, witnessing the changing views and experiencing the vast bridges leaping overhead. While appearing vertiginously complex at first glance, an unfolding narrative becomes apparent, suggesting a visual journey taking place over time. Osuga likens their elongated horizontal format to Chinese scroll paintings, stating that the de-centralised composition guides you to “travel along them.”
Although the scenes are populated with brightly coloured figures, Osuga describes the foreground activity as schematic, representing the flux and character of each section of the river, rather than individual encounters. He says: “for years I always preferred buildings to people. That’s what attracted me about the river, it’s not so much about the human activity.”
The paintings combine what Osuga describes as the ‘strip-like’ viewpoint of walking along the river with a flattened aerial perspective. For example, The River, 8. Canary Wharf to the Thames Barrier (the last painting in the series) portrays both the dramatic serpentine curve of the Isle of Dogs with the riverside view experienced at first hand. In this painting, the scene is also compressed and curled vertically, as though thwarting the edge of the canvas and the resulting journey’s end.
For further information or to arrange a viewing of the exhibition at our gallery on Kingsland Road, London, please enquire below.
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