“Many paintings by Andrew James, for me, have become iconic. They embody some of the aesthetic and cultural qualities that I cherish most in British Art and daily life.
Both paintings clearly show Andrew’s closeness and empathy for his scenes and sitters
Some of these qualities can be seen in Andrew’s ” Man Blowing Nose” 2001. It shows a wonderfully selected moment from contemporary life contrasted against a scene of entropic bygone architecture. Another example is his portrait “White Haired Man” 1996. Through a vivid palette and powerful design, we can gain a sense of the briny briskness of a seaside town. Both paintings clearly show Andrew’s closeness and empathy for his scenes and sitters.
These iconic images serve as a series of reference points that enable me to gain insight and better enjoy not only the culture I have lived in, but the artist as well.
Without mentor and unrestrained by outside influences
However, there is more to Andrew than his Englishness. He has absorbed a broad painterly aesthetic. Self-taught, without mentor and unrestrained by outside influences, he has displayed a thirst to draw inspiration from often disparate sources. His tastes for African sculpture have been no-less invested than his love of early 20th Century formalism and Spanish Baroque Art. These elements and others have found a unity and successful coexistence in his work, endowing him with a hard won freedom and conviction as a painter.
The most compelling quality in Andrew’s craft is his unique and vital relationship to paint itself. This strongly sets him apart from so many of his peers. He has always understood what paint is and what it does. His marvelous handling of pigment has been hard won, with a great deal of his time and focus being spent at the canvas. Yet, it is this hypersensitivity to his medium as an organic thing in itself that has nurtured highly resolved works such as, ” Ivy I” 1997 and ” General Yakubu Gowon” 2008. With their forceful richness of illusion and surface, these qualities communicate what is best in Andrew’s work and take his art to new levels of achievement.”
Paul James New York 2009