Visual Arts: The Independent Collector John Windsor's Guide to Collecting Contemporary Art. This Week: David Thorpe

AT LEAST one critic made the error of describing David Thorpe's pictures as "paintings" when they were shown in Martin Maloney's Die Young Stay Pretty exhibition at the ICA, in central London.

Closer inspection reveals that they are collages of coloured art paper whose contours are half a centimetre deep in places. He cuts out shapes with a scalpel - it took him a day to cut out each tree in his big 5ft by 5ft 6in After the Rain, shown right - then puts them under the mattress on the floor where he sleeps. After several nights they are well and truly stuck.

Paintings they are not, but they are certainly about painting. Their hard-edged segments of flat colour seem to mimic the cool new realism in painting that has caught Charles Saatchi's eye, and to carry it a stage further. Thorpe's greatest influence is on the featureless and beguiling paintings of fashionable women by the American Alex Katz, one of Saatchi's favourites.

Two years ago a rudimentary two-tone Thorpe collage cost pounds 500. Now his prices range from pounds 1,000 to pounds 3,000. Some of those early collages, of nocturnal urban architecture, will be shown in the Saatchi Gallery's Neurotic Realism later this year - and he is negotiating a commission with Saatchi for a 8ft by 10ft collage. His gallerist, Maureen Paley, of Interim Art, will be taking After the Rain to next month's international Armory Show of new art in New York.

The ICA show was the first of Maloney's to include Thorpe's work. Maloney was his tutor in art theory on his MA fine arts course at Goldsmith's College.

Thorpe, 26, began making rural scenes when he realised he was making landscape. He started looking at the silhouettes in the highly polished landscapes of Claude, Friedrich and Fragonard. There is a back-to-basics feel about his work.

If Claude were alive today, would he have dwarfed his flat, seemingly cut-out trees with electricity pylons instead of classical temples? He would certainly not have lost the romantic blend of sylvan simplicity and monumentalism that Thorpe's work echoes. Art paper and spray-on photo- montage glue would probably not have appealed to Claude's 17th-century French taste. In Thorpe's work, the collage technique - a craft skill - underlines the humility of his vision.

There are few people in Thorpe's collages (and no nymphs or shepherds). But there is a sense of narrative - a bit like Raymond Carver's novels, he says, in which nothing much happens but you sense that a lot is going on.

Thorpe's three-room flat in south London is a bit like that. The fine spray of glue settles everywhere, trapping dust and small objects in a glutinous immobility. Several flatmates have quit rather than get trapped in it.

Interim Art: 0171-254 9607

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas