Artist of the Month: Jo Lewis

We are delighted to announce painter, Jo Lewis as ARTIQ’s Artist of the Month May 2018.

With nature a central theme in her work, Jo Lewis has a long established practice of en-plein-air landscape painting. Jo works on the edge of rivers, seas or lakes using ink in the movement of the water to record the physical trace of the water’s flow. Increasingly she has concentrated on marks that nature itself makes, always unique to place and the particular flow of water.

Jo trained at Edinburgh University, Leith School of Art, and the École des Beaux-Arts in Valence, France, and later studied under Maggi Hambling in London.

Recent projects include a large-scale commission for Paris Baguette’s flagship store in Beijing, and in London, for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. In September 2017, supported by the Arts Council, she was invited to work and travel in China.

She is frequently invited to teach at the National Gallery and Dulwich Picture Gallery.During a Residency at Aldeburgh Festival in 2015 she made, ‘Four Seas’, which is now in the Royal College of Music’s permanent collection. Currently Jo is preparing for her exhibition in Paris later this month and has just completed a short residency to make site-specific work, also in Paris.

Jo’s work can be found in a number of ARTIQ projects, with her nature focussed painting providing particular inspiration to our clients working in the sustainability sector. Click here to see Jo’s work in our latest workplace project with Impax Asset Management.

We sat down with Jo to find out more about her work, ideas and process. Read the interview in full below and catch her taking over our ARTIQ Instagram page, sharing behind the scenes of her gorgeous work from Monday 21st – Friday 25th May! Follow @ARTIQgram here.

How does material/medium inform your practice?
Utterly, My work is the paper, the ink, the water and me in a certain place. Different inks and pigments or the quality of the paper will change everything.

Has any place or environment affected your work?
Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to South West China for a residency and teaching project. For years I have looked to Chinese painting, especially ink landscape painting. The tradition of landscape painting there is about the artist’s relationship to being in the landscape, not the more Western idea of responding to looking at the landscape. For millennia the artist’s responsibility was to communicate the living energy, the Qi, of what was being painted. This approach and the technique of ink whereby each mark is both spontaneous and permanent has real resonance for my work.

What’s the last exhibition you saw that made an impact on you?
I saw Powerful Tides at Chatham Historic Dockyard last week. My favourite piece was by Layla Curtis, beautiful drawings created by the gps receiver in her ‘Message in a Bottle’ Project, tracking the shape of each bottles’ journey once it had been released into the sea.

What is the most memorable piece of art you have produced?
I have an appalling memory, so the ones I am always remembering are the most recent the ones I’m working on now, they’re always the most important.

What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Same as us all, water.

What advice would you give a younger you?
Keep going, that’s probably the best advice I’ve been given. As Stephen Hawking said, It matters that you don’t just give up.

Also make your work your best friend, go to it in all different moods no matter what is going on.