LANDSCAPES : JAMES HART DYKE 2012


John Mitchell Fine Paintings, 44 Old Bond Street, London,

W1S 4GB, tel: 020 7493 7567 www.johnmitchell.net


Introduction to the catalogue by James Mitchell


        It is ten years since the first James Hart Dyke exhibition at our gallery, Visions of a travelling Artist. Even then, there was a favourable reaction from some leading art critics towards James's work, who identified his talent and originality. In the intervening decade we have a enjoyed a fruitful association with James and held four more shows, as well as securing for him many commissions for our clients. Nothing, however, could have prepared us for the impact of his most recent major exhibition, A Year with MI6, which we held at a colleague's gallery in February 2011. Featuring on the ten o'clock television news and on BBC Radio 4's Front Row, and attracting international press coverage, this was quite simply the most exciting project I have been involved with in twenty-two years in the art business. James's oils and watercolours captured life inside the Secret Intelligence Service in a way no photographer ever could have, and, in the diversity of technique and subject matter, both real and abstract, I saw a new versatility in James's craft. Waiting in the Hotel Room, the signature piece of the exhibition, was used by MI6 in their recruitment advertising campaign in the national press and was also shown in a lecture at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Just recently, Hart Dyke was commissioned by the producers of the James Bond films, Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, to design the official 50th Anniversary poster, which is now available as a limited edition silkscreen print. As if this was not 'product endorsement' enough of James's work, one of his paintings appears in the latest Bond film, Skyfall.


        This exhibition, Landscapes, will allay the fears of Hart Dyke's loyal followers that he has become distracted in the aftermath of the MI6 project. It reminds us that he remains at heart a dedicated painter of landscapes, and there are references in many of the pictures to the extensive travelling that has enabled him to train his eye and which has helped his work evolve into maturity. In the last decade Hart Dyke's gruelling trips at altitude in the Himalayas, in the Atlas mountains and to active war zones have been complemented by the other extreme of travelling overseas in the retinue HRH The Prince of Wales. It is fitting, too, that James should exhibit with us, as he represents a direct continuation of the tradition of the intrepid painter-mountaineers of old, whose work is seen in our firm's annual Peaks and Galciers exhibition of Alpine paintings.


        As he was for the eight year-old Hart Dyke, John Constable remains something of a touchstone for James to this day, and there is an unconscious acknowledgement to him in some of the small, fluid oil sketches of Dorset here. Lately he has also found inspiration in the work of Corot and, in a more modern vein, that of Richard Deibenkorn.

       

        In recent years James Hart Dyke has become an 'eclectic' painter, and the graphic sense instilled in him during his time studying arhictecture at the Royal College of Art has led him to explore and develop different skills. Nonetheless I know from candid conversations with him that nothing he attempts is not already to be found in the classic form of painting which he strives constantly to perfect. The landscape paintings here are as much about the language of brushwork, about texture and feeling as they are about the image itself. It is a great privilege for me to able to present this latest 'outpouring' from the brush of the remarkable James Hart Dyke.

 

James Mitchell

November 2012

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The official website for the artist James Hart Dyke copyright © 2016 James Hart Dyke.    Represented by John Mitchell Fine Paintings,17 Avery Row, London, and Delahunty Fine Art, 21 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London