Painting | Drawing
Dearlove’s work presents a twilit, chimerical world haunted by figures, animals and hybrids.
He is preoccupied with how humans leave a trace of their presence both as individuals and collectively on the world; the way a figure can electrify a room, the trajectory of a firework across the sky.
His paintings capture the visceral presence of the human figure; light falling on flesh; or bodies coalescing with their surroundings. However they are also concerned with more metaphysical and sometimes violent collisions between humans and the natural world. Figures transform into birds; a vortex of shipwrecked bodies and jellyfish intermingle.
He is fascinated by how marks on a surface can at once create and destroy and how those same marks can fetishise both the medium of paint and the subject he is painting equally. Some of his works are painted on newspaper and he enjoys and seeks to exploit the way the newsprint interrupts the painted surface with a kind of soft violence.
Ultimately, his paintings explore both the desire and the disquietude in the human experience through his own experience as a queer man living and working both in the heart of the city and more recently in rural isolation.
James Dearlove lives and works in his studio on the edge of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.
Dearlove is a graduate of The Slade School of Art (MA Fine Art) and UCL (BA English Literature) in London and also of the mentorship programme at Turps Banana Art School where he was mentored by Benjamin Senior, Anne Sassoon and Neal Tait.
Dearlove exhibited two paintings in 2019 at The Summer Exhibition at The Royal Academy in London and three paintings in The Discerning Eye Exhibition 2020. In May 2021 he presented four paintings in the group show “Queer As Folklore” curated by Duovision at Gallery 46 in Whitechapel. In August 2021 he showed another four paintings in the group exhibition “Burra and Friends” curated by David Lock at Rye Art Gallery. In October 2021 he had his first solo show called “The Garden Room” at Nine Elms Gallery in London. In September 2022 his work was shown by the Ingram Collection at the British Art Fair at The Saatchi Gallery in London. In February 2023 he presented three paintings in the group show "Two by Two" curated by Jack Trodd of BWG Gallery.
In 2020 Dearlove was long-listed for the Jackson’s Painting Prize and short-listed for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries. In November 2021 he was awarded a prestigious Ingram Prize, specifically the Founders Choice Award for his painting “Figures on a Bed” which has now been acquired by the Ingram Collection. In 2022 Dearlove was long-listed for both the Jackson’s Painting Prize and the Waverton Art Prize.
In June 2022 he was selected for an Erasmus-funded month-long residency at The Cyprus College of Art and in March 2023 he went on a residency placement at the Colstoun Artist Residency, which will see his work exhibited in Scotland and London at the end of 2023.
Dearlove has featured in publications such as FAD Magazine, Hero Magazine, i-D Magazine, Richardson Magazine and most recently ArtMaze Magazine.
He is currently making a new body of work to show in a solo exhibition with Brushes With Greatness October 2023.