Artist in Residence Jeremy Houghton paints places, journeys, sport and adventure to explore the essence of movement, favoring themes of space and light. The subjects that characterize these scenes are illuminated by the way that he shapes the spaces between things, and the spaces in which bodies linger, shimmer, move and often take flight.
Over the last fifteen years he has been invited to detail the life many high-profile communities, from those at Windsor Castle and Highgrove to 2017’s Wimbledon championships, and the competitors at the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. With each of these projects Houghton is interested in getting beyond public perception, documenting instead the everyday scenes that characterize an event or place.
Although Houghton’s focus ranges quite widely, his technique remains a constant. Emphasis on painted shapes of light and space, (or unpainted paper with his watercolors), contrasting against areas of liquid color enables his subjects to glimmer in the liminal territory between figuration and abstraction. With extraneous detail removed, the paintings are also hard to place, giving them a historical quality that serves to underline their fluidity.
Houghton continually explores the potential of negative space to represent light, and often references ‘ma’, the concept in Japanese aesthetics that translates roughly as ‘gap’ or ‘pause’, and which in traditional practice helps balance the relationship between different areas of an image. This focus on the space between things lends his paintings, even when they are of something as solid as a horse or a racing boat, a surprising delicacy. Houghton holds his subjects on a very thin, almost invisible line between motion and the ability to transcend time.