"Christian Furr won recognition of his enormous talent early in his career. At just 28 he was the youngest artist commissioned to paint an official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, personally selected from among dozens of other painters. As is typical of Christian, he approached the project with a unique point of view, showing both the regal and human qualities of Her Majesty.
During his early career while Furr was highly sought after for his portrait commissions, the superbly talented painter simultaneously followed the strong tradition of representation in British modern and contemporary art throughout his oeuvre. Today Christian focuses on keeping oil paint a fresh contemporary medium, and is continually interested in experimentation and exploration of new concepts. Like an earlier generation that included Lucien Freud and David Hockney, Christian examines everyday objects and human emotional connections with equal interest, looking to reach the essential nature of his chosen subject, be it a member of the royal family, an enigmatic couple, a flower, a still-life or a measure of cheese.
Known as a colourist and a consummate paint-handler, Christian's influences are remarkably diverse. Apart from the visual arts, music and literature are integral; he is a voracious reader, an omnivorous listener. Inspiration arrives from many directions - a fragment of Rumi poetry, a lyric from The Doors, a quote from Bukowski, William Blake sonnets, the film Zabriskie Point by Antonioni. The symbols of his far-reaching interests find their way into his work, sometimes overtly, sometimes submerged.
Over the years Furr's desire to broaden his artistic language has led to well-received collaborations with other artists, including neon-artist Chris Bracey. It was while working with Bracey on Liverpool Love and Staying Alive that Christian began to incorporate more vibrant color into his own work. His signature nuanced palette expanded to adapt pure color, allowing him to experiment more freely and also reach a broader audience. Like some of Furr's more notable contemporaries, such as British YBA Damien Hirst and the American painter Eric Fischl, one can glimpse in Christian's trajectory the depth of study and training that leads an accomplished artist toward global recognition.
Furr's latest series Jouissance was born after viewing an artificially generated explosion in a lab, a visual that remained with him as a conceptual framework. Referencing the spectacular ending of Zabriskie Point, a five-minute sequence of a single explosion, repeated in super slow motion, demonstrates the abstract quality of film itself. Actual objects are transformed into a riot of color and form.
Taking it further into contemporary language, Christian became interested in the elemental quality of the "fake" explosion, the special effects used to create "reality". Employing a traditional treatment of the subject, he adopts Warhol's fascination with mass-production, making multiple versions of a single image. Diamond dust and artificially high color are used to enhance the "special effects": each canvas is a unique variation, with the artist's hand and eye altering the single image into an infinite kaleidoscopic view of a one-time event.
The literal translation of Jouissance is physical or intellectual pleasure, delight, or ecstasy. According to the artist, it is the duality of both mind and body that led him to the title for this painting cycle. Intended as an ongoing series, he will continue to explore perception of the artificial and the actual, eventually working with each of the four essential elements in Western culture: earth, air, fire and water. As always, Christian will push the limits of traditional painting while at the same time taking the underlying concepts to new heights.
Christian Furr's continuous investigations have enabled him to successfully pursue his artistic vision with both passion and intellect. Since achieving his early renown, he has built a devoted and growing following, placing his work in many of the top university and private collections in Britain."
- Fran Kaufman 2015