Online shop

We are launching a new online shop which will feature different exhibitions throughout the year. The first show, “Lockdown Journeys”, new drawings from 2020 / 21, will run from 29 October to 5 December.

The Glass Palace

The Glass Palace. Mixed media on paper, 68.5 x 101.5 cm (27 x 40 ins), 2021

Lockdown and the show Japan – Water, which I took part in at the Groundwork Gallery in King’s Lynn in 2021, are behind most of the drawings. They are domestic in scale yet international in reference.

Most of my research has been in my imagination. The imagination is very environmentally friendly. Working for the Japan show and responding to it afterwards, I have been to Japan many times, all without carbon emissions. The locked-down world was much larger. For me there was relief in living in the mind again, and imagining a bigger cleaner world.

I walk some mornings on Glasgow Green. It is always good to walk – and a walk often forms the basis of a picture. It can connect to other walks in my imagination, even ones I didn’t make but someone else did. Like Rousseau, walking from Paris to Geneva. Or Basho, walking north. I would like to walk all the way to Japan. Maybe I should try? Meanwhile, I walk on Glasgow Green and walk around my studio and travel to Japan in my head.

Hokusai has become a friend. I look at his pictures every day. They are postcards from places which I will never visit. Re-employing my imagination to supply colour, incident, passion, encounter.

Something of Japan – Japanese water – has come to Glasgow and flows through my drawings of Glasgow Green.

Other remembered or dreamed landscapes are there as substitutes for the real thing. I cut down on my travel – and make something which still takes me there.


Groundwork Gallery presents Japan/Water
Lisa Keiko-Kirton, Jonathan Meuli, Isao Miura, Nana Shiomi, Hakan Topal
Online preview with the artists on YouTube at 7:30 pm Thurs 1st April (remaining online thereafter for viewing at any time).
The gallery will be open 14th April to 31st July, Weds to Sat, 11-4

Assembly Online are kindly hosting our next preview event on 1st April

Join us at Assembly Online on Thursday April 1st at 7.30 pm GMT for our on-line preview of the next GroundWork Gallery exhibition: Japan Water. This will be a chance to meet some of the artists and get a glimpse of their work before the exhibition opens to the public.
  Here is a link to join the event at 7.30 PM GMT on Thursday 1st April: GroundWork Gallery’s Spring exhibition, Japan Water tackles each aspect of the subject of water, from purity to pollution, from calm to turbulence.  Five artists take us on a journey into the significance of water in Japanese art and culture, its importance for Japan’s economy and indeed its survival.

Tea, sake, rice, fish, handmade paper, hot baths: so many keystones of the Japanese way of life depend on a supply of pure, clean water.  And yet, water is everywhere under attack.

From the acid rain pollution of the 1970s, to the Fukushima disasters of 2011, the effects on Japan’s pure waters have been especially disruptive and deep-seated. This exhibition will show and discuss some of the ideals, the poetry, the power of water in Japan, and what we can learn from it.  Artists are: Lisa Keiko-Kirton, Jonathan Meuli, Isao Miura, Nana Shiomi, Hakan Topal, with designer, Shizuka Tatsuno Some more dates:

The exhibition will open from April 14 -July 31, Wed-Sat, 11-4

Isao Miura will be joining one of the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures (SISJAC) Third Thursday events on April 15th, details to be announced.

We will have 2 online conferences, on The Purity of Water on May 21st  and on the Power of Water on June 25th.  Keep an eye on the website for further details, which will also follow in next mailing.
  Images from top: Nana Shiomi: ‘Eternal Gaze, Waves’, woodcut; Nana Shiomi: ‘A Room on the Other Shore, Lightning’, woodcut; Lisa Keiko Kirton, ‘Painting F’, mixed media; Isao Miura, two paintings from ‘Rice Paddy’ series;  Jonathan Meuli, ‘The Great Wave’, variations; Hakan Topal, ‘Man, Woman’, photographs from Fukushima Copyright © 2021 Groundwork Gallery, All rights reserved.
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Icons for Atheists

An exhibition at Loughborough University in the summer of 2019.

From the University website’s events page:

Jonathan Meuli’s artwork, Icons for Atheists, is currently on display at the Martin Hall Exhibition Space.

The Glasgow-based painter has produced ten new works – created specifically for this exhibition – that combine geometrical and expressive abstraction. The theme was sparked by a friend’s comment on a piece of work in the painter’s studio that it looked like “an icon for atheists”.

Professor Phillip Lindley from the School of Design and Creative Arts, who organised the exhibition, said: “Jonathan Meuli paints enormously colourful and vibrant abstract oil paintings. They combine a tension between order and chaos.

“He intends them to stimulate the viewer’s reflection and contemplation free of any religious or doctrinal systems.”

Images of the paintings: here

Installation shots courtesy of Loughborough University

Approaches to Abstraction

Exhibition at Wolfson College, Cambridge

19 January to 17 March 2019

Open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays
15.00-17.00 in the Combination Room

Wolfson College, Barton Road,
Cambridge CB3 9BB

Admission free

An exhibition of work from the 1980s to the present, tracing the development of abstraction in my work. Curated by Phillip Lindley. A catalogue is available: click here for details.

Wolfson College Fine Arts


RE:SEARCH at the Glasgow Science Festival 2018

6th June to 6th July 2018

RE:SEARCH – a conversation between Art and Science is an exhibition by painters Jonathan Meuli and John Robertson and ceramicist Jonathan Wade. All three artists are near neighbours in the WASPS Hanson Street Studios in Glasgow. The show will run in two Wasps gallery venues: The Briggait, (141 Bridgegate, Glasgow G1 5HZ) and South Block, (60-64 Osborne Street, Glasgow G1 5QH). During the Science Festival there will be a complementary series of events – a play workshop, and talks and discussion sessions featuring contributions by the artists and by Professors Paul Soler and Aidan Robson of the University of Glasgow and CERN.

Full details are at the Glasgow Science Festival website where you can also book (all events are free).

You can click here to download the RE SEARCH web brochure and events list

I think it will be a really interesting show. John Robertson has produced some magnificent large scale works in acrylic: highly expressive motifs and gestures are thrown down onto the paper or board and almost endlessly repeated and varied, but always retain their shape. They represent Energy itself – in different states – and also the attempts of the artist to locate himself as viewer of what he himself is performing (and so cannot view?).

Jonathan Wade is also producing new large scale ceramic pieces specifically for the show – investigating deep texture, materiality on this and other worlds, and  ideas of permanence, transience, coincidence and intervention. The arrival of an exploratory space mission on Comet Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko becomes, for this show, a respository of symbolic meaning about the interaction of the natural and the created.

Jonathan Meuli has been working for the last four years on large abstract pieces which have a metaphorical connection with contemporary scientific research. His latest piece, The Great Wave, 3 was finished in April. None of his pieces in this exhibition have been shown before.

Click here to read a longer essay on Art and Science in relation to Jonathan Meuli’s painting and see some more images



More like a lens than a frame

It is more interesting to think of the form of my recent paintings as that of a lens rather than as a frame. This is how I think of it, now: as a lens like the gravitational lenses photographed in the distant universe by the Hubble telescope. Without the central part the outer part simply would not be visible at all. Both affect the other. If you haven’t seen the Hubble gravitational lens images, I recommend them.
Jonathan Meuli-2016-14_


Die quadratische Form ist aus den früheren seriell-geordnete Bilder und Zeichnungen, wie ich sie seit langem gemacht habe, natürlich und zwangsläufig entstanden. Zuerst dachte ich der äußere Teil wäre eine Art Rahmen (wie Howard Hodgkin) – aber jetzt ist das ganz anders und gleichzeitig wichtiger geworden. Jetzt erkenne ich, dass die äußeren und inneren Teile beide zentral sind! Beide wollen im selben Moment das Zentrum bilden, den Mittelpunkt besetzen, obwohl das nicht möglich erscheint. Also sollten wir nicht mehr an Rahmen denken, sondern an Linsen: der innere Teil ist eine Linse geworden, mit der man den äußeren Teil erst sehen kann. Wie bei den wunderschönen Gravitationslinsen vom Hubble Weltraumteleskop, sieht man die eine Sache ohne die Andere nicht. Form und Farbe sind nicht sichtbar, aber sie bringen anderen Formen und Farben ans Tageslicht, die sonst immer im Dunkel bleiben würden.

Gravitational Lens Captures Image of Primeval Galaxy


(taken from the News release at the Hubble website)

“This Hubble Space Telescope image shows several blue, loop-shaped objects that actually are multiple images of the same galaxy. They have been duplicated by the gravitational lens of the cluster of yellow, elliptical and spiral galaxies – called 0024+1654 – near the photograph’s center. The gravitational lens is produced by the cluster’s tremendous gravitational field that bends light to magnify, brighten and distort the image of a more distant object. How distorted the image becomes and how many copies are made depends on the alignment between the foreground cluster and the more distant galaxy, which is behind the cluster.

In this photograph, light from the distant galaxy bends as it passes through the cluster, dividing the galaxy into five separate images. One image is near the center of the photograph; the others are at 6, 7, 8, and 2 o’clock. The light also has distorted the galaxy’s image from a normal spiral shape into a more arc-shaped object. Astronomers are certain the blue-shaped objects are copies of the same galaxy because the shapes are similar. The cluster is 5 billion light-years away in the constellation Pisces, and the blue-shaped galaxy is about 2 times farther away.

Though the gravitational light-bending process is not new, Hubble’s high resolution image reveals structures within the blue-shaped galaxy that astronomers have never seen before. Some of the structures are as small as 300 light-years across. The bits of white imbedded in the blue galaxy represent young stars; the dark core inside the ring is dust, the material used to make stars. This information, together with the blue color and unusual “lumpy” appearance, suggests a young, star-making galaxy.

The picture was taken October 14, 1994 with the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2. Separate exposures in blue and red wavelengths were taken to construct this color picture.”

Here are some April 2016 experiments with a round form – more obviously Universal.


Aktionsradius, Vienna

In May 2016 Jonathan Meuli will be exhibiting at the Aktionsradius in Vienna.
The show will be based round 12 new abstract paintings designed for the space.

Frierike Mayröcker's poems: cover illustration from a drawing by Linde WaberThere will also be one of his Friederike Mayröcker series … The background: a few years ago I saw the illustration on the cover of a book of poems by Friederike Mayröcker. The drawing is of Mayröcker’s studio in Vienna, by Linde Waber.

I found it such an interesting drawing that I emailed Linde out of the blue and went to Vienna to meet her. She welcomed me open-heartedly. It was this connection that led me to title a recent group of paintings with texts after Friederike Mayröcker. I have used poetry either in my paintings or as titles for paintings from around 2000, so this group of Mayröcker paintings was a memory, made in Glasgow, of my visit to Linde in Vienna.

All the Mayröcker paintings are titled either from Mayröcker poems or with phrases from an interview with Mayröcker in PN Review. By an irony (poetry is the most ephemeral of the arts) most of the Mayröcker paintings, after they were finished and titled, turned out to be ephemeral as well. They use fugitive pigments – fluorescent ones, and they are doomed to fade, some of them almost completely. (This wasn’t intentional: the pigments were marketed as having good permanence and light-fastness, but I have done light tests which show that they are completely fugitive). They can’t be repainted – and so they sit in darkness, protected from the light which will kill them.

Perhaps, though, they are better like this. Perhaps the fugitive nature of these paintings matches with the fugitive nature of poetry in a way which binds art and poetry together more closely than they ever could have been otherwise. Should I remodel them and and exhibit them as concept pieces? … make boxes for them, with wooden doors, which you would have to open to see the painting, and which, when closed, would protect them from the light which will destroy them … I had made frames for most of the paintings that are themselves all individually designed. The board on which the little painting “The void never fills” is sitting is an old drawing board of my mother, who has finally ceased to use it herself as very old age and arthritis have taken away her ability to draw. She was born in the same year as Mayröcker.