Alexander Heaton is an English painter and printmaker based in London. Having spent his early years in North Yorkshire he moved to London and graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2005 with an honours degree in Fine Art. He has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally. Most notable recognition to date has included his solo show, The Secret of the Runes at the Residence Gallery London, which was selected to be in the Pulse Art Fair, Miami in 2011 to much critical acclaim. He has been shortlisted for the Marmite painting prize and has shown in The Future Can Wait, which was conceived as a complement to London’s Frieze. He has also participated in a number of other international art fairs including the 07 Projects Art Fair, London. The London Art Fair (2009 and 2011) with Contempory Art Projects, Aqua Art Fair, Miami (2008) with the Lounge Gallery. Alexander’s first solo show was The Horn that Matters (2007) at The Empire gallery.
Alexander recently won the Mountain Tracks Photography Prize and was given the chance to climb with world-renowned mountain guides in Zermatt. He successfully summated Monte Rosa, Switzerland’s highest peak, Castor, Pollux, and the Briethorn. The expedition also successfully raised a large sum for Cancer Research UK.
His work was recently published in Bant Magazine - Turkeys premier art monthly publication, The Sunday Times Magazine - article covering his show at the Empire Gallery in Vyner Street, Amelia’s Magazine covering his first solo show - The Horn that Matters, and a full page spread in Time Out whilst he was still studying at Saint Martins.
I am a painter who works primarily in oil paint. This tradition goes back a long way, and I see my work as part of this long tradition. Simply with paint on a canvas one can create anything, it as a world within a world. This is what continually interests me about painting as a medium. Its inexhaustible scope fascinates me to spend time and explore all its qualities.
I am also a printmaker, having recently explored screen-printing as an image making medium. This was a natural progression for me from painting as the process is very painterly and the way my prints are designed is similar to how I would design my canvases.
As a mountaineer myself I study and research my themes. I often walk and climb to remote places to cast an eye on my artistic prey – I am the lonely figure lured by mountains, dark forests, alpine skies and forbidding ravines. The paintings look out from the summits of mountains and contemplate the beyond. Through my canvases I continue on the true Romantic journey, but in a very 21st-century way. My work teeters on the edge of a filmic realism and also at times uses sampled vignettes of other painters work. There are hints of something more sinister in the dark forests and crumbling glaciers that populate my works to date. It’s this struggle that fascinates me to keep painting.
My recent works transports the viewer to hallucinatory and altered worlds. These are not real places, but are vignettes of sublime vistas I have experienced or sampled. The work touches on a common longing in us all to escape the modern urban landscape and throw oneself whole heartedly into serene expanses, and witness at first hand awe-inspiring natural phenomena. This isn’t always possible on a day-to-day basis, but painting as substitute for exploration can be. However the work at times offers us a darker reality of complete desolation or abandonment at the ends of the world. This comes from my own experiences as a mountaineer. Witnessing in nature not love or beauty but an unsentimental commitment to constant change and renewal. In this way the work laments on our own mortality and strives to find salvation in our experience of the here and now.
I am seeking through the act of painting to engage with nature through intense looking to see something of the spiritual. Sometimes overtly using my imagination, and at other times simply by depicting the world as I perceived it shows is inner magic. Common motifs such as pine trees, snow and ice formations, mountains and occult runes reoccur through out my work. Nature at her most harsh and unsentimental as an overriding force is what interests me in this body of work.
The work has playful folkish elements characters and creatures from pagan folklore often populate the landscapes. At once, both mocking the painstaking detail of the work and revelling in their own fictitious existence on the picture plane. A coded language of ciphers and narrative beings in the work ease this tension of fullness in the picture plane. The work is characterised by a keen interest in depicting sublime phenomena perceivable to the senses, whilst teetering on the edge of a more psychedelic abyss.
I wish to achieve through my art work a feeling of longing in the viewer for something half known or experienced from the past when our connection with nature was much closer and crucial to our existence. I want to bring to life through images the places we never quite got to over the horizon, just beyond our reach and invest them with something of the divine.
Central Saint Martins School of Fine Art BA (Hons) Fine Art.
Cleveland College of Art and Design BTEC Diploma Foundation Studies.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2013 Do the Ravens Still Circle the Mountaintop? – VJB Arts 10 Gresham Street, London.
2011 The Secret of the Runes - Pulse Art Fair, Miami.
2011 Trebuchet - The Residence Gallery, London.
2010 Abyssal Wolpertinger - Medcalf Gallery, London.
2009 Harz – Clarke Gallery, Berlin.
2007 The Horn That Matters – The Empire Gallery, London.
2006 Alpine Retreat of the A14 –Union Arts Club London.
2004 The Uncontrollable Urge to fly – Primitif Gallery, London
Selected Group Exhibitions
2013 60% Water – James Freeman Gallery, London.
2013 Busan Art Fair – Busan, South Korea.
2012 Space Rage – The Residence Gallery, London.
2012 London Art Fair – Residence Gallery, London.
2011 Wunderkammer - Clarke Gallery, Bermingham/Berlin/New York/Sydney/St Johns.
2010 The Future Can Wait - Ellis Rumley Projects, London.
2010 Happiness Machines - Rise Gallery, Berlin.
2009 Splashback - Clarke Gallery, Berlin.
2009 Perfect Present - Stable Productions, 242 Gallery, London.
2009 The London Art Fair - Contemporary Art Projects, Islington, London.
2008 Aqua Art Fair – Aqua Hotel, Miami.
2008 Salon 08 - Matt Roberts Fine Art, Vine Space, Vyner Street, London.
2008 The Damned and the Saved - Stand point Gallery, London.
2007 07 Projects Art Fair – County Hall, London.
Previous Residencies and Commissions
2007 Rahel Aslam – Dubai, UAE Mural Painting.
2005 The Muse Gallery Portobello Road - London.
Awards and Scholarships
2012 The Mountain Tracks Photography Prize - Awarded first prize.
2008 The Marmite Painting Prize (short listed) Studio1.1 Gallery.
2004 The Gen Foundation Arts Scholarship.
2003 The Truro Fund Arts Scholarship.
2010 Bant Magazine - Turkeys premier art monthly publication.
2011 Time out - Top 5 exhibitions in London – Trebuchet at the Residence Gallery.
2008 The Sunday Times Magazine - Article covering work shown at the Empire Gallery.
2007 Amelia’s Magazine - Article covering the solo show, The Horn that Matters, fully illustrated.
2004 Time Out Magazine- illustration for articles promoting Central Saint Martins School of art.