Thornton grew up in the small seaside village of Newbiggin-by-the-Sea
in Northumberland, England, where he recently returned. He has lived
and worked in Europe for more than fifty years. Within the last decade,
Stuart Thornton has become an exceptional and noteworthy artist. Working
with nature, Stuart attempts to recreate the essence of some of the
natural wonders we observe everyday. I will explain.
About twenty years ago during his habitual and somewhat meditative daily
walk through 'The Valentino', a park in Torino, Italy, Stuart remembers
being unexpectedly struck by a magnificent kaleidoscope of color. Within
the annual blessing of autumn leaves, Stuart found brilliant yellows,
greens, reds and gold randomly yet perfectly scattered to form the most
stunning of abstract paintings. Inspired, Stuart felt compelled to try
and somehow make this moment, this brilliant natural canvas, endure.
In his attempt to take home with him some of the beauty he had found
in the park, Stuart carefully selected a few of these tangible paints,
took them home, dried and pressed them in order to keep and later began
to explore the challenge of creating this 'moment preserved'. Later
in the process, framing each piece became like creating an altar, a
way of honoring reality.
Always received with utter delight and appreciation, his first creations
were small and simple holiday gifts for friends. With time, his selections
grew. Stuart began to work with plants and flowers of all types. From
roses and peonies to small trees, shrubs and grasses, from beautiful
floral bouquets to more scientific botanical specimens, Stuart created
impressive 'still real-lifes', best described as timeless flashes of
nature perfectly and artistically preserved. Initially, Stuart worked
in small medium attempting to fit all types of plants and flowers into
reasonably sized 'canvases'. He soon found this limiting. Refusing to
be intimidated by size, Stuart created some of his most impressive and
notable works. These include plants filling giant 'canvases' 3 x 2 metre.
As word got out and his skill and talent refined, Stuart found his work
hanging in some of the most famous and elegant homes accross Europe
and the United States.
A pair of magnificent Gunnera measuring (275cm x 150cm) hang in an exquisitely
renovated convent in Corsica, France. As celebrated in the July 2000
issue of 'House & Garden', more Gunnera can be seen embellishing
the stucco of Katerine Prices beautiful villa on the island of Capri.
In Germany, twenty of his work's including "Anemone Japonica",
"Rosa Aleata" and giant sunflowers line the walls of a regal
mansion in Munich, owned by Baron Von Flink . In another collection,
irises and buttercups rich in blues and yellows are found floating in
a sea of blackness. These smaller pieces decorate an enchanting nook
in the country home of Oscar and Annetta De La Renta as well as four
huge gunnera for their home in Punta Canna. Although Stuart derives
great artistic satisfaction in creating each individual piece, he is
equally inspired to collaborate with his patrons as well, for specific
projects. Stuart works closely with interior designers such as Signor
Forquet, Arch. Pejrone of Italy and Mrs. Susan Gutfriend of New York.
Stuart has worked also with: with one of her clients, Mrs. Paola Cussie,
in Paris, where he decorated her dining room with 70 pieces of his works;
with Gae Aulenti in Marella Agnelli's home in Marrakesh; with the Begum
Salima Aga Khan, who literally wall papered her home, with 400 pieces;
with Maddison Cox for Mr. & Mrs. Black of New York; with Frank de
Biasi Interiors in New York and Paris; Reeds and Waldo Works of London.
Like most artists, Stuart has a 'day job' yet is continually working
on his art. Nearly every free moment he is either out for seasonal gathering,
pressing and/or treating his 'paints' or in his studio reshaping and
interpreting. Consequently much of the process is entirely reliant on
conditions of nature. With yearly scavenging, drying, pressing and preparing,
Stuart must constantly wrangle with the elements and with time. Like
a farmer with his crop, Stuart prays for weather to nurture the perfect
composition. Too much rain or not enough, a sudden hail shower can easily
shape the course of an artistic season. Like a photographer trying to
capture the majesty, simplicity and honesty of nature's wonders, Stuart
spends immeasurable hours arranging each collage. Each and every piece
unique. His goal, to somehow recreate the beauty of the environment
that we so often take for granted. Thus, we might stop and see the roses,
so to speak, in our homes, at our leisure.
Stuart usually mounts his works on cardboard and paper and for the gunnera's
ultralight boards. Most recently, Stuart is exploring the blend of current
technologies with the natural simplicity of his work with digital imagery
and transfer systems.
Elizabeth Van Vleck
Do the colors fade? Yes, I can guarantee it. Might I have trouble with
Strong sunlight, to much dry heat and to much humidity can damage these
The immages of these works are the property of the artist and the Mc.Graw
Printing House N.Y