James Lynch: A Parallel Reality

In October 2017 British contemporary painter James Lynch returned to Jonathan Cooper, Chelsea, for his third solo show with the gallery.


Executed in the luminous medium of egg tempera, these new works celebrate the beauty of the British countryside, and offer an idiosyncratic (and often bird’s eye view) of the counties of Somerset, Wiltshire, and Dorset.


Born in Wiltshire in 1956, James Lynch is a self-taught artist who has mastered his favoured medium of egg tempera.  Employing the same technique as his medieval forebears, he prepares the gesso ground of his pictures by hand, painting successive coats onto panel before stippling the final layer for a slightly rougher surface. The hens which populate his Somerset garden provide the egg yolks needed for a painting, which he mixes with pigments and a little water. The numerous layers of this fast-drying medium retain their transparency, allowing light to filter through and reflect the white gesso ground below, imbuing each picture with a rich luminosity.


Fascinated by the English landscape, James Lynch has also held a lifelong passion for the skies. His light-filled work explores the interaction between the two, the furrows of clouds echoed by those in the soil below, or a rain-filled sky reflected in rapidly expanding puddles. Indeed, as a keen paraglider his scenes of Somerset, Wiltshire, and Dorset provide an idiosyncratic viewpoint of the British countryside, and our interaction with it. Many of his paintings chart the traces left by man on the landscape, both ancient and modern, from the medieval spire of Salisbury Cathedral rising from the plains, to the more contemporary sight of telephone wires marching across fields.


Often focusing on the motifs of a winding country lane, or the slow progress of a post van, Lynch’s work narrates the unfolding of a journey, frozen in time. Sight lines stretching into the distance, hedgerows converging out of sight, and shafts of light linking earth and sky invite us on our own imaginative journey, and to look anew at a well-loved scene.

I walk through the landscape I am painting, being in it on the ground, finding connections and intersections. Getting to know it is important, and if I can fly over it with my wing, all the better  –  James Lynch, 2017