The preoccupation with the artist and their natural surroundings has endured from the origins of civilization, itself. To interpret the twisted wilds into forms beyond that of scientific record exists before Ancient Egypt, Persia and the Asiatic continent in the guise of primitive cave paintings. As humanity's most basic creative gesture, nature and visual art has enjoyed a symbiotic relationship lasting more than 10 millennia. For the contemporary visual artist, two choices present themselves: to render nature strictly as it is revealed by the senses or to accelerate that vision to include the interaction of the present moment, filled with industry, technology and the inherent complications of modernity.
Hong Kong-based artist James Paley-Yorke elects a fleeting middle ground between the two, reinvigorating classical draftsmanship into a format pertinent to that of the contemporary visual vocabulary. His painstakingly executed details of bush life, taken from his native New Zealand roots, are ink drawings rendered in the spirit of the miniature; small, delicate, almost as precious as the shrinking patch of ecosystem, itself. On sheets of standardized white paper, Yorke opens a twisting, teeming window into the brushes and jungles of the Southern Pacific informed by illustration and conventional animation.
It is reasonable, and somewhat convenient, to label Yorke as a cartoonist, or one who characterizes elements of the imagination (man or animal) as slightly otherworldly or alien. For Yorke, the larger concern is the reduction of these images to such a minute scale, that the impending disappearance of these natural figures are made brutally clear. Half-conservationist in nature, half-cataloguer but fully cognizant of the limited space in which his renderings can faithfully be reproduced, Yorke is of a class of illustrators who have recharged practical interest in drawing. Detail to the tiniest branch or fleck of soil is Yorke's variation of a reality dominated by confused by abstract or subliminal imagery. In short, the goal of Yorke's visual reproductions are closer to that of photography: to capture a single impression of the enivornment which is destined for permanent and irrevsible decay.
Born Alistair James Montgomery Paley-Yorke, the artist grew up in Thames Coromandel in New Zealand and left school at 17 to study Forestry Conservation. Yorke is self- taught, whose work is held in private collections in New Zealand (Auckland, Coromandel, Te Aroha and Wellington), Australia (Holloways Beach, Queensland and Sydney), the United Kingdom (London), Ireland (Dublin), Greece (Poros) and Japan (Asagaya). Yorke continues to exhibit widely throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Yorke lives and works in Hong Kong.…Read More