Jonathan Yeo: Some People at Eleven Fine Art
Jonathan Yeo began his artistic life after taking up painting whilst recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his early twenties. His work focuses on portraiture and his painting career has seen him exhibit regularly at the National Portrait Gallery, as well as in art galleries worldwide. Some People at Eleven Fine Art marks a shift back to Yeo’s origins and sees him showcase a multitude of faces.
Educated in traditional painting techniques, over the past few years Yeo has been experimenting with collage works. Some People sees Yeo discard the cut-and-paste medium in favour of his figurative and realism-orientated roots.
A small collection of ten prints, Yeo’s exhibition both explores new territory and addresses reconstructions of his most iconic pieces. Yeo has many famed subjects; Nicole Kidman, Erin O’Conner, and Paris Hilton are a mere few on his extensive list, which also contains influential politicians. Using a range of different papers and mediums to create his hauntingly realistic works, Yeo draws his subjects out of the canvas. They appear to emerge, as if from nothing, to become something warm and real.
Although this method does give his portraits an original slant, it is not altogether a positive experience. The works are left looking unconsidered and unfinished. Where Yeo chooses not omit detail, his works are stunning and obviously infinitely skilled. However, framed by a lack of completion, they appear more as collages and therefore do not give an equal level of quality and depth throughout.
One piece where this is not an issue is his portrait of actress Sienna Miller. This exceptionally realistic portrait keeps detail throughout and shows Yeo at his best. The piece is intoxicating; the depth of colour, realism crafted by detail, and composition of the work are beautiful, and is a true depiction of artistic skill.
The two strands of the exhibition appeal to different people; his collage-esque pieces capture a fantasy world whereas his consistently detailed works deliver a version and illusion of reality. Whichever method of his work you prefer, you will be enthralled. The quality across the works is sublime and Yeo is a true craftsman.