'Luke Elwes is making pictures which are at once about the particular places he has visited and a record of that journey into self which is the lot of the true contemplative. In his recent evocations Elwes maps the almost-submerged land where earth sea and sky not only meet but mingle intimately. He writes of the making of these elusive paintings (apparently empty yet full of detail) as encompassing “the pursuit of silence, a balance between something and nothing, that holds the eye and stills the impulse to literal transcription”. The map is nearly erased, a distressed palimpsest; it’s difficult to decipher a clear meaning. The viewer must, like a scryer, read the signs and interpret accordingly'. Andrew Lambirth (catalogue text, published by Art First Contemporary Art, London, May 2002)
Luke Elwes was born in 1961 in London, where he now lives and works. His early years were spent in Iran, where the light and space of the desert were a formative influence. Between 1979 and 1985 he studied Art History at Bristol University and Painting at Camberwell Art School, London. While working at Christies he began to travel and write, and after meeting Bruce Chatwin in 1987 he went to the central Australian desert to explore the landscape and its use in aboriginal storytelling and artforms. Since then he has continued to travel extensively, discovering and revisiting remote locations in India, Asia Minor and North Africa. In 1998 he was artist in residence on an expedition to Mount Kailash, a holy mountain in western Tibet. From 2000 to 2005 he worked for extended periods on a remote island off the East coast.
Since his first exhibition in 1990 he has had twelve one man shows in London, Paris and New York. He is currently represented by Adam Gallery in London. He also writes about contemporary painting for journals including Modern Painters, Galleries and the Royal Academy magazine, and is currently undertaking postgraduate research at Birkbeck College, London University. He has recently contributed catalogue essays to survey shows at Kettles Yard, Cambridge University (2008), Galeria Ceribelli, Italy (2008) and The Estorick Collection, London (2010).
In 2007 the following group of London painters was formed: Tony Bevan, John Davies, Arturo Di Stefano, Luke Elwes, Timothy Hyman, Andrzej Jackowski, Merlin James, Glenys Johnson, Ken Kiff, R.B.Kitaj, Alex Lowery and Thomas Newbolt. New paintings by these artists were jointly exhibited in 2007 and 2008 at Galeria Ceribelli, Bergamo, and in 2010 a touring show of some of the group's work, entitled 'Another Country', was exhibited at the Estorick Collection in London.