Jonathan S Hooper b. 1962


Growing up in 1960s Cornwall, Jonathan S Hooper was surrounded not only by the elemental majesty of this resilient, rocky promontory but also by the creative tradition and legacy that this place provoked. The artist’s exposure to this tradition was far from casual. Through his father, Harry Hooper, a painter himself and a founding member of the Cornish Gliding Club, Peter Lanyon and Alan Davie were directly part of his landscape.


Steeped in this culture, Hooper eschewed the option of a more formal art training, instead choosing to follow a family tradition and study structural engineering at university. A master’s degree at Imperial College London followed, after which he returned to Japan – a country he first experienced as a hitchhiking student – living and working there for three years.


On leaving Japan, Hooper returned to painting and sculpture. An abiding interest in Japanese printing techniques and calligraphy is evident both in the way Hooper’s paintings are built up, and in how gestural, calligraphic marks often interrupt the painting plane.


His paintings seek to convey the experience of being ‘in’ landscape, as opposed to the less active state of looking or observing. Rooted in North Cornwall’s moors and coastal margins, this sense of place functions as a cipher through which to explore metaphysical concepts such as experience, memory, predisposition and imagination. Hooper uses the paintings to understand and reinforce his relationship with landscape; they are complexity maps.


Hooper views landscape as the matrix in which the whole of human experience is lived out. He is conscious, however, that we are losing our fundamental connection to landscape and wayfinding. His work explores the possibility that, through alternative ways of representing landscape, we can reinvigorate these links and rebuild the bridges to the uncultivated spaces.