John Beard’s ‘New Paintings’ will be our first solo presentation of Beard, showcasing a survey of recent works exploring three different subject areas: landscape, portraiture, and historical reference. Common themes through the artists practice are the concepts of sight and vision, perception, and illusion. The paintings’ surfaces, after first inspection and then upon closer viewing, evolve over time; subtleties come to light in the layers of waxy paint and forms materialise taking on new shapes and deeper meanings.
Speaking of Beards practice Charles Saumarez Smith writes “He’s a painter of disappearing and sometimes ephemeral appearances — images which hover in a space somewhere between realism and abstraction, half real, half remembered, highly composed, but, at the same time, loosely brushed and ill-defined, not as seen, but touched, transmuted, as the ghost of physical appearances.”
Beard’s work has been exhibited worldwide and is held in the collections of major international public galleries, museums and private institutions. His oeuvre has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Tate St Ives in the UK, The Gulbenkian Centro de Arte Moderna in Lisbon, Kunsthalle Darmstadt in Germany, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) in Australia. ‘Wanretganui Heads’ was also selected to represent the year ‘1998’ in The London National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Painting the Century: 101 Portrait Masterpieces 1900-2000, in 2013 he exhibited at The Royal Academy of Art’s exhibition titled ‘Australia’, the most significant survey of Australian art ever mounted in the UK. Notably, he has been awarded the Pollock-Krasner Award (New York) and has won both the AGNSW’s Wynne Prize and Archibald Prize.