John O'Carroll Book Presentations

New Book by Contemporary British Artist John O’Carroll.
Title: ‘John O’Carroll Art Works 1998 - 2008’

‘John O’Carroll has parallel careers as an archaeological illustrator with the Dakhleh Oasis Project, Western Desert, Egypt (an archaeological and environmental study) and in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, as a contemporary artist working in the desert and by the Cornish coast. This book brings together a body of work united by an interest in time and place in landscape and the elements that shape it. It reveals a preoccupation with processes of change and interchange, illuminating a correlation between micro and macro systems. Although ostensibly impressionistic, the works are often rich in metaphoric potential. Through their treatment of the abstract and transient, they pursue what is essential and universal.

A key constituent of this is the sourcing of natural pigments, resins and waxes for use in the work. Followed by their meticulous, almost alchemical, preparation and subsequent application through ancient processes, such as Encaustic and Graffito. This labour and precision, paradoxically, lays the foundation for highly poetic, ethereal impressions. What emerges, however is a technical and conceptual sympathy, a dialogue between making and meaning. The employment of natural pigments and processes links the works physically, as well as philosophically, to their subject. So the work is not just about the landscape, but part of it. Not just representing light, but absorbing it, changing it. And rather than simply describing processes of change - wind, erosion, abrasion - within the subject, employing those processes to describe the subject.

The chronological structure of the book, ordered according to key exhibitions, offers a history of a fascinating practice that engages with landscape on a poetic, metaphysical and even anthropological level.

A notable and revealing inclusion is a Sufi poem (by Rumi, 13th century), that allegorically contrasts a richly decorated Chinese room, brimming with symbols depicting the full gamut of human experience, with a Greek room that achieves the same thing by polishing everything white! It is the latter approach that is celebrated in this work, rejecting representation in favour of something effortlessly more comprehensive, adaptable and democratic.’

Joseph Bouzaglo
Art Historian

Book Presentations
Saturday December 6th 2 - 4pm Book signing & reception at Padstow Contemporary Gallery, 3a Parnell Court, Padstow, during Padstow Christmas Festival, O’Carroll’s work will be on exhibition here through to January 15th 2009.

Tuesday 11th December 7pm at art@dl13 Galerie Roger Katwijk, Amsterdam.

Tuesday December 16th 6 - 8pm Book Launch & signing at Royal Cornwall Museum, River Street, Truro - with introductory talk by Rosa Fry, a renowned Egyptologist and John O’Carroll. O’Carroll’s work will be on exhibition in the foyer, and the new River Street Cafe, in the museum.

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