John Gathercole has been working professionally for many years, selling and showing internationally, including both Tate Modern and Britain. Painting is his first love but initially found success as the founder of the Kreative Union of Neo-aesthetic Terrorists, (the K.U.N.T ists, a play on the German word for art). An anti aesthetic anti art punk collective that lampooned the art world.
With the Kreative Union he catechized what is considered art, exploring whether art is morally emancipating or socially engaging and what was consider art as both, good and bad, high and lowbrow. Through this they challenged the assumptions of established aesthetic criteria by employing subversive working agendas and disputing the role of the artist in society.
They went on to open a shop/gallery, ‘The Emporium’, in East London which allowed the group to pursue a commercial artistic venture, establishing the Kuntists as a brand and entity by producing a fanzine, clothing range, art gifts and dolls and also forming a band and releasing a cd ‘Art Noises’. This saw them aligned with the final years of the Y.B.A.s, (Young British Artists).
Private View Thursday 5th December 18:30-21:30
John Gathercole’s solo work still has an irreverent attitude but now tackles more personal and deeper issues of aesthetics, cognition and media by exploring the void between beauty and reality with a blend of humour and horror, which feeds the contemporary human and social neurosis.
Challenging the perpetual human preoccupation with mortality, truth and happiness through painterly deconstructed and associated images, he develops identifiable but challenging abstract surreal narratives, asking the viewer to re-evaluate what they believe and what they just except to be aesthetically and socially true or false in this modern age of surface and fake values.
The paintings appropriate a range of influences from, philosophy, psychology, art history and popular culture including, Existentialism, Gestalt theory, Carl Rogers, Lars Elling, Kate Gottgens, Jenny Saville and Epictetus.
Technically his practice has become increasingly more about paint and the act of painting, its processes and applications. Although still figurative, they have ceased to dominate the artistic plain and evolved into figures within a setting or happening or sometimes just lost in the paint itself. Less of a figure or portrait painting and more of a painting about paint with a figure or portrait as conveyor in a gestural landscape.