Just Looking: James Gemmill & Gavin Lockheart

11am – 4pm on weekends, 4pm – 7pm on weekdays
April 22 closed | April 25 6pm – 8pm

Entrance is free

I hope that the imagery in this body of work reflects an empathetic story of a truth about the human condition in today’s world.  James Gemmill, 2024

I’m an unreliable narrator – so the interpretation is left up to the viewer.  Gavin Lockheart, 2024

Oxford Festival of the Arts is delighted to present Just Looking – an exhibition of paintings by Oxfordshire-based artist James Gemmill, who works in the cinematic world, television, and design, as well as in the more traditional context of gallery artist, and Gavin Lockheart, whose paintings sit mostly within a landscape genre, but often with further imagery apparent on the surfaces.

There is a subliminal thread across these artists’ works which plays on different possible interpretations of stories told/untold from the viewer: they tell a story (or do they?). There is a darkness in some of Gemmill and Lockheart’s paintings, a link to horrors and inhumanities around us, but is there a glimmer of hope? That is up to you.

With its references to the darkness of war and conflict, this exhibition also links to the foundation of the Pembroke College JCR Art Collection established in 1947 by Anthony Emery, a mature undergraduate who came to Pembroke to read History following his return from WWII; and leads on to our next exhibition of works by British surrealist painter and war artist Paul Nash.


Oxfordshire-based artist James Gemmill has a wide-ranging artistic career, working in film, television, and design, as well as in the more traditional context of gallery artist.  He has been commissioned large works in the cinematic world, including the recreation of sections of the Louvre gallery for “The Da Vinci Code”; the theatrical set of the film “Anna Karenina”, the reproductions for “The Last Vermeer”, and “Glass Onion: A knives out mystery” just to name a few.  James studied at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City and at the University of Boston; after which he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study at the Royal College of Art in London. His work is held in a number of prestigious collections in different countries. Most recently, Gemmill’s work was exhibited at The Mall in London, at Old Brompton Gallery, South West London, and at New College Oxford, as part of Oxford Festival of the Arts – with whom he has established an ongoing partnership.


Gavin Lockheart was born in the Midlands between picturesque countryside and the heavy industry of the Black Country. His paintings sit mostly within a generalised landscape genre but often with further imagery apparent on the surfaces; figures, faces, flowers, vehicles, buildings, drawn from a lifetime of taking pictures, not so much an imagined world as a reconstructed one. Rural features appear incongruously in the city; figures seem out of place in their environment, though seeping into it. The use of multi layered imagery throws the understanding of depth out of focus and sets up a scenario where the surface functions both as screen and as window.  Gavin studied at St. Martin’s and has shown in the U.S and Europe and in 2007 completed a nine story wall installation in Manchester. He lives and works in London.  Some of Gavin’s work can be viewed, by appointment, at the Artist Room, Great Chapel Street, Soho.









Apr 20 - 28 2024


Pembroke Art Gallery
5 Brewer Street, Oxford, OX1 1QN