I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The Waterboys, 1985
Turps Gallery is delighted to present paintings by John Wilkins; the first in a series of solo exhibitions highlighting the work of
a significant contemporary painter.
John Wilkins' career spans over three decades. Since the mid-80's Wilkins' practice has been characteristic for its persistent affirmation of reoccurring motifs examining the discourse of painting. In his words: “paintings of paintings; paintings of painting, and always paintings of the of.”
Primarily manifested in two scales - large and small - his paintings adopt consistent dimensions and a mostly-black-and-white palette
which has only recently been greeted by the emergence of green. In his paintings pools of colour appear to form and rearrange, in a manner reminiscent of the dancing aqueous nature depicted in the closing scenes of Tarkovsky's film
Solaris. Placed directly over these pools of colour are schematised renditions of suggestive motifs that hover in formations as if in reconnaissance of this surface. They are both muscular and delicate, comical and dead-pan; constructed by building semi-transparent thin lines, painted in several layers to suggest solidity.
The beauty in the construction of these works is their apparent impossibility to be interpreted in a singular form, or pinned down to operate in accordance with a conventional figure-ground narrative, yet, somehow, through their monumentality and unequivocally stance, they resonate with arguments in pictorial language familiar and understood. As if
standing on the shoulders of giants - Newman, Fontana and Rothko, to name a few - they peer down quizzically inviting the viewer to join in their heroic explorations, each work in many ways similar to the last, but at the same time an individual.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a text by Daniel Sturgis, artist, Reader in Painting and Programme Director BA Fine Art, Camberwell College of Arts.