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Justin Mortimer

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About Justin Mortimer

Born: 1970, UK

Lives and works in London


1988-1992, Slade School of Art, London

Why we like this artist >

Great artists whose work deserves wider recognition: there are plenty of them, and in this section of artbroth we aim to showcase established names whose work really should be - and may well become - far better known.

Why we like this artist

Contemporary art isn't just about cutting edge innovation, and with figurative painters such as Michael Borremans and Adrian Ghenie highly coveted by collectors - and a newer generation of eastern European names already on the up - it seems to us that UK artist Justin Mortimer's virtuoso skills and angsty, political edge deserve greater recognition.

Technique to die for and hard-hitting subject matter are hallmarks of Mortimer's current practice; and although it's true that his painting has witnessed gradual transformation over the last few years, his latest work - darker, both literally and metaphorically than ever - is also his best.

The brio of Mortimer's realism has never gone unnoticed: he's recognised as a formidable portrait painter with several high-profile commissions under his belt.

But the whiff of Establishment such projects carry can unfairly taint other aspects of an artist's practice; particularly if, as in Mortimer's case, it seems ideologically at odds with his confrontation of the lowest points of recent politics and history.

A fine and challenging - if largely literal - painter, we'd like to see Mortimer's work given wider attention.

Update: since publication of this article in 2011, we're happy to note that Mortimer has recently joined the artist roster at Haunch of Venison, with a solo show due to take place in November 2012.


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