29th May 2020 John Bokor’s studio, Australia

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.

John Bokor

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

Published by lisamckimmie

I am an artist and art teacher currently living and working in Sydney. I studied undergraduate Visual Arts at Edith Cowan University in Perth, completed my Masters in Visual Arts at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Sydney and studied printmaking at the National Art School, Darlinghurst, Sydney. I worked in Sydney in contemporary art galleries up until I left Australia and wrote and presented Professional Arts Practice lectures and seminars to final year undergraduates at the NAS. In Asia, the UK and Europe I have tutored and taught art privately including distance tutoring online. While living in Singapore I completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Secondary Education, Visual Arts with Monash University. In The Netherlands I worked, in pandemic lockdown, in a small studio in the forest of De Paauuw thanks to the generosity of Dutch artist and printmaker, Florence Fernhout and the Wassenaar Gemeente. Our May 2020 exhibition at Pulchri Gallery in Den Haag (The Hague) was cancelled due to corona virus controls, reschedulaed and again cancelled in 2021. To break the isolation and bring attention to artists and their works (including current exhibitions in lockdown or cancelled) I started the Art Zoom-Bus, AZ-B. Initially AZ-B was to bring together friends and colleagues who usually meet annually at a conference. This years conference (in Lisbon) was cancelled. Though the work has gone online and continues, the social outings that give everyone a work/leisure balance, do not. Social outings are often to galleries and museums so, at the suggestion of friends in lockdown in remote places, we went online for gallery and studio tours! Other friends have joined the tours now and so we have AZ-B! The Zoom Bus is temporarily parked as lockdowns have lifted and I carry on with my art studio practice in Sydney at One Plus 2 Studios, Balmain. I am still pondering on whether I'll reboot the Bus and in what format! If you'd like to see the Zoom Bus back on the digital road let me know your thoughts!

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