The café as a metaphor: Jonathan Schofield

The painter's new exhibition at Serena Morton Gallery draws on social interactions and is as rich with colour as we've come to expect

Art and Design 9 Jun 2022

Jonathan Schofield cafe society artwork 2022

The Postgraduate, 2022. Oil on linen.

Jonathan Schofield’s paintings are the kind you just want to step into. Big, expressive and vivid with colour, they really must be seen in person to be truly appreciated, and you can do just that at a new exhibition of his figurative work, on show at Serena Morton Gallery in West London until 2 July 2022.

For this latest show, loosely titled Café Society, Schofield uses the café as a metaphor for the process of making art.

‘We go to a place (a studio), begin to converse with our subjects, our materials, our thoughts, and our desire for communication,’ the artist explains. ‘We sit and wait, we are served (sometimes), we are nourished, thirsts are quenched, appetites are sated, we have conversations, we leave, only to begin the process again another day.’ There are other scenes in this series, too, but social situations are a consistent and pleasing theme.

Roller Skating into Bohemia, 2022. Oil on linen.

Schofield’s resumé reads like a sparkling example of a thriving artist – a master’s in fine art painting at the Royal College of Art in London (and a sell-out degree show), followed by residencies in New York, Paris and Rome and a successful career as a creative director, as well as plenty of acquisitions by collectors the world over.

In his book Chromophobia, David Batchelor suggests that Western culture has long loathed and even feared the use of colour, but that certainly isn’t the case for Schofield, as his uplifting washes of blues, yellows, greens and pinks prove.

Jonathan Schofield cafe society artwork 2022
Music for Chameleons, 2022. Oil on linen.

Café Society runs at Serena Morton on Ladbroke Grove, London, from 8 June to 2 July 2022