Today our audience joined us from the UK, The Netherlands, Singapore and Australia to chat with Australian artist John Bokor. It was early morning, coffee time, here in The Hague. With John, in Bulli a beautiful area south of Sydney and close to Wollongong, it was late afternoon.
I came across John’s work while living here in The Netherlands because I follow online a Sydney Gallery called King Street on William. The First King Street Gallery was set up by Randi Linnegar, the Director, when I lived in Sydney. i visited it regularly in the nineties. Since then Randi has continued to be a champion for emerging and established artists and is always a passionate advocate for artists. We have one of John’s paintings from about six years ago. It depicts a living room interior in a beautiful filtered light. It was after I enquired about the work that I discovered it depicted the living room of a Sydney artist called Sallie Moffatt. Sallie’s drawings are delicate, honest and beautiful. Sallie now lives and works on the coast south of Sydney not far from John’s studio. https://www.hillendart.com.au/salliemoffat The painting, depicting Australia light filtering in through the windows, looks beautiful here in the Dutch light.
John generously spoke to us from his studio and showed us around. As he carried his device around the room it was sometimes delightfully difficult to tell the interior depicted on the stacked canvases from the interior of the studio. The paintings depict many objects from his house and imagination including, bottles, brushes, books, soft furnishings. John has moved over the years from painting the literal interiors that he encounters to imaginary ones that he constructs on the surface in line and colour and then adds (and removes) objects and colour and texture. The colour in the works is playful and vibrant. John explained to us that it may be a single colour relationship in a work, perhaps a red and a blue, and the dynamic play between them, that he starts to explore and which leads to the more complex and subtle colour composition within the work. In recent years John has introduced more haphazard chance into the works, even using an airbrush with both oil and acrylic. This takes technical mastery, as some of you would know, as paint must be used from thin to fat if the work is not to crack while drying. The final works are a dance of gesture, line, light and colour.
There is a great podcast I follow called Talking with Painters. You can’t listen to the episode where they interview John here: https://www.google.nl/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwj30dvFkNnpAhUS6qQKHRsVCKIQtwIwG3oECAMQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.talkingwithpainters.com%2F2016%2F09%2F29%2Fep-8-john-bokor%2F&usg=AOvVaw3auNhlxTCMrKyicjecmnhy
The great thing about studio visits is you hear an artist’s thoughts on current works in process and past works complete. We heard about works that John returned to after thinking they were finished, about the surprising prevalence os a shade of purple that he saw in a series only when it was finally hanging in a gallery, of hoe the work “…rolls and moves until it gels.”
Inspirations for John’s art works include Kevin Connor and Elizabeth Cumming. Both Sydney artists whose works I also adore. https://kingstreetgallery.com.au/artists/elisabeth-cummings/https://www.artistprofile.com.au/kevin-connor/
I’ll conclude with the advice that Kevin Connor once gave John as it seems so apt for the times we are living in, “:Let your imagination out now and then.”
Thanks for coming! Lisa