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international painting annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

John Brennan
Oxford, United Kingdom

detail image


My work is a personal landscape of obsessions, significant finds selected from the chaos of the external world. Through painting I explore my fascination with unease, the unknown and the enigmatic, creating deliberate ambiguity.

There is a rich internal folklore underlying my practice, within which disparate elements from the past co-exist and resonate within the present. Loaded subjects sometimes feature, laced with subtle humour or a nagging discomfort.

Working from my own photographs, stills from mass entertainment and online sources, I choose to paint only from those images that trigger a spark of recognition at a deep subconscious level. They are either transcribed intact, or sometimes altered to form new scenes.

The act of painting transforms the chosen mechanical image into a physical, handmade object and at the same time, heightens the emotions and uncertainties that linger just beyond its surface.

It was whilst working as a photographer, during a period of creative refocusing in 2009, that I became aware of a growing desire for self expression as a fine artist. At the same time I rediscovered my love of painting, both as a medium and as a meditative process.

In the intervening years I've been developing my practice as a painter, waiting until the work had reached the right level of maturity before showing any of it publicly.

I began exhibiting in 2013 and alongside networking with other artists and showing with the Hollow Earth London group, I was selected to show in seven open call exhibitions including Creekside, Neo, Worcester and The National Open Art Exhibition.

I originally studied illustration at Liverpool Polytechnic but left before completing my degree. I went on to spend the nineties in London, where I led a successful career as an illustrator, working for high profile brands and publications, later evolving into a designer and creative director.





born: 1966, Liverpool, England



Liverpool Polytechnic, completed only 2 years of study for BA(Hons) in graphic design (illustration), 1985-88
Liverpool Polytechnic, Foundation Studies in Art & Design (with distinction), 1985


selected awards/honors

Beers Contemporary Award for Emerging Art (shortlisted), Beers Contemporary, 2014
The National Open Art Exhibition, Royal College of Art, 2013
Neo Art Prize, Neo Gallery 22, 2013


selected publications

The State of Art ñ Representational & Abstract #2, Bare Hill Publishing, 2014
The State of Art ñ Representational & Abstract #1, Bare Hill Publishing, 2013


selected group shows

OX4 Magdalen Road Studios Artists, 03 Gallery, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2014
Hollow Earth London Painters, Six Space, Bournemouth, United Kingdom, 2013
Ludlow Open, Harley Centre, Ludlow, United Kingdom, 2013
Creekside Open, APT Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2013


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