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"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."

John Burge, born in Mornington, Victoria, Australia, 1951

In 2008 John presented his first retrospective exhibition at the Victorian Artists Society in East Melbourne. It had been his first Melbourne show in thirty-six years and drew extensively from the nineties onward. The nine-panel ' Bluebeard's Castle ' - a free adaptation of Bela Bartok's 1918 opera - was seen for the first time in its entirety.

The figurative artist had last exhibited in Melbourne in 1972 at the Warehouse Galleries in Richmond. Soon after he moved to Europe, settling in the Catalan village of Artedó, deep in the Spanish Pyrenees. A place John still refers to affectionately as ' home ground '. He exhibited in Barcelona during the dying days of the Franco regime.

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

Throughout the mid-eighties and the nineties he worked primarily as a book and commercial illustrator and became involved with art education in schools. He continued painting and participating in both private and public gallery presentations in Melbourne.

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 and sixties. Six ' chapters ' from the continuing tale can be seen in ' Series '.

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

June 2017. As part of ' Picurt ', a mountain-themed film festival staged in the Alt Urgell region of the Catalan Pyrenees, an exhibition showcasing new paintings from Cuba was held at Cal Ribó, Artedó. A sentimental return on the day of San Juan.

August, 2018. An exhibition of recent artwork, ' Caminant després de Mitjanit ' / ' Walkin' after Midnight ' was held at la Eglésia de Sant Domenèc, La Seu d'Urgell, Catalonia. Supported by the Town Hall, the show featured recent work alongside ' The Temptations of San Antonio ', a ten-panel piece inspired by Luis Buñuel and Hieronymus Bosch, ( with a sideways glance towards Elvis ).

Due to concerns over the Covid pandemic, there were two major cancellations of a solo exhibition at the Cenro Buñuel, Calanda, Aragon. The show was meant to complement the International Film Festival which, unfortunately, has now been postponed for an indefinite period. It was decided to launch the exhibition independently on the 8th of October '22, a few days before the feast of the ' Virgen del Pilar ' and to close by mid-January, '23. The museum is dedicated to the life and work of the great Spanish surrealist and filmmaker, Luis Buñuel.

An exhibition of paintings and works on paper was held at the Casa de Cultura, Mas de las Matas, Provincia Teruel, Aragon for a month between August and September, '23.

A return exhibition at the Eglésia Sant Domenèc, la Seu de Urgell, Catalonia is anticipated for August '24. The intention is to gather works by artists active throughout Alt Urgell in the late 1970's / early 80's. It was a time of social transformation and renewal throughout Catalonia and Spain. It was also a time of artistic rejuvenation and enthusiasm. The region was home to both local and foreign artists, a melting pot of ideas and images.

 



 

' Ranelagh, the Hidden Playground, '

' ( el juego oculto ) '


 

 

' The Temptations of Saint Anthony, las Tentaciones de San Antonio '
       
   
       

 

 

' The Sky has Fallen ... a murder of crows '

' El Cielo se ha Caído ... un asesinado de cuervos '