In January 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office completed the construction of a new British Embassy and Residence in Doha, Qatar. Designed by architects Jordan + Bateman, the new Embassy boasts a cool, contemporary interior with many walls faced with stone or wood. The Government Art Collection suggested a commissioned work, which would be integrated into the fabric of the building. A large meeting room, overlooking the main lobby was considered the ideal location, as it can be seen by visitors as well as Embassy staff.
Proposals were submitted by shortlisted artists and Jonathan Parsons was selected to receive the commission and approved by the GAC's Advisory Committee. The resulting work continues Parsons' established practice of working with maps and cartography. Installed at the Embassy in April, the work is a three-dimensional acrylic sculpture, suspended within a wall-sized glass vitrine. Commenting on his use of cartography, Parsons has said:
By extracting partial images from maps, I remove most of their conventions (such as recognition, orientation and labelling). This robs the maps of their function and turns them into 'pictures' from a given source.
As the entire installation allows light to flood through it, the work has a quiet beauty that reflects the calm, orderly environment of the new building.
Jonathan Parsons was born in Redhill, Surrey. He attended Goldsmiths College in London between 1989 and 1992, and his first solo exhibitions were held in London and Leamington Spa in 1996. He was one of a group of artists whose work was shown as part of the infamous exhibition Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection, shown at the Royal Academy in London in 1997. Parson is co-ordinator of Aspex Gallery's Artist's Research Centre in Portsmouth, where he supports emerging artists with advice and continued professional development opportunities.
Jonathan Parsons was born in Redhill, Surrey. He studied at Goldsmiths College, London between 1989 and 1992. His first solo exhibitions were held in London and Leamington Spa in 1996. His work also featured in ‘Sensation’ an exhibition of British contemporary art from the Saatchi Collection at the Royal Academy in 1997 which then toured to the United States. Since then Parsons has continued to widely exhibit his work including solo and group shows in London, Edinburgh, Stuttgart and Los Angeles.
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