Will Thorburn Art Studio

Will Thorburn is a London-based contemporary artist producing vibrant, colourful paintings based on organic, anatomical shapes.

Will Thorburn is a London-based contemporary artist making vibrant, colourful paintings and drawings.

Thorburn’s work combines both the decorative and the anatomical to create an intermediate space in which the organic and inorganic merge. Saturating the canvas with bright, clean colours, forms emerge suggestive of limbs, internal organs, and plants intertwined in ambiguous combinations.  Influenced equally by the palettes of the fauves and pop artists such as Tom Wesselmann, the paintings evoke sundrenched climates, the lime greens contrasting with brilliant oranges and deep crimson. The colours of southern France and Morocco infuse the paintings with a vivid energy.

Recent work simultaneously creates and resists a sense of depth; flat areas of colour dominate the canvases, yet arches and apertures intimate three-dimensional space. Palm trees, vines, and cacti surround fragments of reclining nudes and fractured bodies in indeterminate gardens and courtyards. These dissected figures are painted with a simplicity of form and vigour of line, at once innocent and unnerving. The forms have become simpler and looser, in comparison to the artist’s earlier, intricate paintings combining Persian rug designs with densely work anatomical imagery. The oil paint is applied in an increasingly loose and playful manner, as the colour palette has become more intense, reflecting the artist’s interest in the combination of the organic and synthetic.

In the words of the artist, ‘Colour is a key factor for me in my recent work. I spend each summer in the south of France and I realised where the unashamed exhuberance of colour used by artists like Matisse, Derain and Monet was coming from. I’m interested in breaking that down, unsettling it by combining imagery of opulence and fertility with anatomical references and science fiction-influenced forms. I want the pictures to develop a life of their own, and often think of working in the studio in relation to creating a garden; I take a lot of inspiration from images of Moroccan riad gardens taken on a trip there. With that relation to the organic, I want the pieces to have an unpredictability; I love the way Kirchner uses unexpected colour combinations, or Guston creates highly awkward compositions that are somehow incredibly effective.’

Born in 1983, Will Thorburn lives and works in London, UK. Having studied Critical Fine Art Practice at Brighton University, he completed his MA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins in 2016. His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions throughout the UK, including those at Schwartz Gallery, Alon Zakaim Fine Art, and Candid Arts Trust. He has also been featured at Art Miami and The Other Art Fair.