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Artist's Statement from the Jackman Exhibition, June 2010...

"Of course it is a very peculiar occupation. This continual disassembly & reinvention of the fabric of our experience. Searching for a narrative line to make a sort of sense of the maddeningly complex world around us. Whether we laugh, cry or merely flip the finger & head for the hills. I aim for an art of passion, exorcism & sometimes just plain mischief. I enjoy & respect craft and an understanding of technique in painting & drawing, believing that a certain level of virtuosity & skill can only intensify an experience. Perhaps it's all just a novel or movie in waiting, some allegorical slipstream to give Dante a run for his money."

In 2008 the figurative artist completed his first retrospective exhibition at the Victorian Artists Society in East Melbourne. It had been his first Melbourne show in thirty-six years and ranged from 1975 till the present. The nine panel ' Bluebeard's Castle ' - a free adaptation of Bela Bartok's 1918 opera - was seen for the first time in it's entirety.

He had previously exhibited in Melbourne in 1972 at the Warehouse Galleries in Richmond and, according to some, provided one of the most memorable and notorious openings of the time.

John then moved to Europe and lived for twelve years in the Catalan village of Ortedo, deep in the Spanish Pyrenees, exhibiting in Barcelona during the dying days of the Franco regime.

He later showed in Amsterdam and Munich, exhibiting with Dali, Vasarely, Magritte and Fontana before a critically acclaimed exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, Alkmaar. Despite forthcoming contracted exhibitions, family circumstances meant a reluctant return to Australia.

Through the mid-eighties and nineties he worked primarily as a book and commercial illustrator and became involved with art education in schools. Although John continued painting it was not until 2010 that he exhibited again with a complete showing of ' Bluebeard's Castle '.

In early 2013, work was commenced on a new series - ' The Magic Theatre ', a reference to Hermann Hesse's novel, ' Steppenwolf '. The experience is filtered through the chameleon lens of a particular Australian upbringing in the fifties & sixties. Six ' chapters ' from the continuing tale can be seen in Recent Work, including the pivotal centrepiece, ' Not for Everybody '.

Recently included in 'Series' is a suite of twenty small paintings suggested by a journey through the north of Spain. Time and ambiguity, voices from the past.

Four works have been included in ' 50 Masters of Realistic Imagery ', by Art Domain Whois Publisher, Liepzig, Germany, 2015.

2015, commenced illustrations for a forthcoming edition of the amative prose of Odon Horvath, Budapest, Hungary

Four works have been included in ' WeContemporary ', published by MusaArt, Milan. To be released in September 2016.

2016, Working towards future showing with Galerie Steiner, Vienna, Austria.

 




' Gauguin in Despair '

Triptych, Oil and Mixed Media on Canvas & Board,
140 x 237cms.

' an antidote to loss and disappointment '