Chris searches for beauty in subjects that are often taken for granted in a wider society that seems to have temporarily abandoned its connection with the natural world.
Chris Polunin is a classically trained painter from Newcastle upon-Tyne. After completing his studies in Florence and Edinburgh, travel has become an important part of his practice and his search for natural beauty takes him all over the world.
Winner of the Winsor & Newton Prize (NEAC 2021) and the Stanley Quek Prize (2019), he has also been a finalist for the Contemporary Young Artist Award (2018, 2019) and the New Light Prize (20/21). He exhibits widely in the UK, including at the Mall Galleries (New English, RSMA, Royal Society of British Artists), and has often featured in exhibitions in Europe and the USA, including at the Museum of Western Art, Texas.
Chris is currently based in Newcastle from where he creates his candlelit floral designs and captures the diverse landscapes of northern England. He is driven by the idea that his visual questions can be answered more accurately by painting directly from life and he searches for beauty in subjects that are often taken for granted in a wider society that seems to have temporarily abandoned its connection with the natural world.
Hanging Sunflower, 2018. Oil on canvas.
Chris a classically trained painter with a strong interest in capturing nature in all its forms. With it being increasingly disregarded, he is all the more determined to uphold its beauty in his art. Chris is in search of truth and he has a need to work out how things ‘are’, and how they are not. Coming from a family of scientists and academics, searching for truth through observation and experimentation is an integral factor in his work.
Flowers by Candlelight, 2017. Oil on panel.
"Whenever possible I work directly from life because visual truth is only possible when seeing directly. Being immersed in the atmosphere of the subject is the most effective way to capture its essence and mood. Light is the most important factor in this; without experiencing it firsthand we miss the essential subtleties that make a thing beautiful.
My work – especially en plein air – is done with urgency to capture fleeting lighting effects. To convey these moments and feelings to others is my primary aim as an artist. The urgency of a plein air painting is always immersive and exciting while a portrait drawn from life will be a more truthful and wholistic portrayal of the sitter." - Chris Polunin
Still Life With Carrots, 2018. Oil on canvas.