Contemporary Artists

Luke Elwes is a painter whose journeys have exposed him to the culture, beliefs and landscapes of others, and have acted as a catalyst for his own line of enquiry into the nature of our relationship to the world. This exploration can be traced back to his childhood in Persia and to his first significant encounter with the desert at the start of the 1990s.


Luke working


Since his first exhibition in 1990 he has had fifteen solo exhibitions in London, Paris and New York. He also writes about contemporary painting for journals including Modern Painters, Galleries and the Royal Academy magazine, and is currently undertaking postgraduate research at Birkbeck College, London University. Since 2008 he has curated and written catalogues for exhibitions at The Estorick Collection (London), Kettles Yard (Cambridge University), and The Ceribelli Gallery (Bergamo).The idea of a journey is central to his painting, both its physical and temporal unfolding and its recollection in memory.

The surfaces recall maps, tracing the marks of history and the fragile signs of belief, and moving between what is revealed and concealed of these often empty and distant terrains. Rooted in the particular, the images also probe an interior space. Andrew Lambirth has written about them: ‘The map is nearly erased, a distressed palimpsest; it’s difficult to decipher a single clear meaning. The viewer must, like a scryer, read the signs and interpret accordingly'.

'Elwes makes a kind of celestial confetti, a serene fusion of light and the motes dancing in it. He might also be painting a million million prayers, written on multi-coloured scraps of paper and scattered to the ends of the earth, falling alike on fallow ground or fertile, but all heard by God. Whatever its cause, there is a quiet joy to his meditations, which chimes well with the understated beauty of his images.'

Andrew Lambirth 


'Silent Kingdom' - pdf catalogue of the exhibition

Constellation cover

'Constellation' - pdf catalogue of the exhibition

Luke in Vermont
working places

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