john bartlett volume 1, 2005, #009
john bartlett has been a practicing artist continuously for thirty years, working variously in oils, acrylics, PVA dry pigments, egg tempera, beeswax, marble, and sand. he has painted figuratively; constructed works using enlarged photocopies, masonite, fitted circuit boards, oils and acrylics; explored video games and hip hop by means of geometrical figurative abstraction; and dealt with impressions of the earth that incorporate the lasseter expedition, collaged photocopied newspaper reportage, and found-on-earth objects. his current imagery is pure abstract, with the initial images being generated by computer before being developed as charcoal drawings and completed with paints on poly-cotton material.
1. how would you explain 'art' - in 19 words or less? art is the telling of stories, illustrating concerns and passions. i have long regarded artists as 'flashers' - the overcoat brigade - compelled to reveal themselves, and even if they try not to reveal themselves, that in itself is revealing (okay, so the explanation was 38 words - what the hell!).
2. what is the first work of art you ever loved? paul klee's red and white domes 1914. the loosely developed grid of earth colours, within which are three dimensions, various contrasts and perspectives, suggestions of architecture and handwriting in the form of 2 'X's stimulates the viewers imagination . . . i like the understatement.
3. how important is theory to your art? theory is unimportant to me; too stifling.
4. describe your ideal art workspace. my ideal workplace has southern light, and i can live in it. it has enough space for large-scale work, storage and is affordable.
5. describe your current art workspace. my current studio was a horse stable in the last century, and is just enough to work in (some time ago i painted a work 7'x16' and i had to make it a triptych to be able to do it). unfortunately i cannot live in it.
6. if you could be placed in suspended animation and safely reanimated at some time in the future with the sole purpose being to see how history treated you / your art, would you do it? yes. my curiosity . . . parents want to see their children develop, don't they?
7. who are some of your favourite artists (contemporary or canonical)? ian fairweather - practical intelligence; colin mccahon - spirituality and artistic sensibilities; giacometti - penetration into somewhere else and elimination of excesses; paul klee - intelligent investigation of flora and perspective, artistic sensibilities of genius; erik satie - inventiveness and sheer genius.
8. tell us about a gallery (online or physical space) that you think rocks, and why you think it rocks. no gallery that i know in melbourne 'rocks' - they're all too staid and conservative, following the so-called trends. at first glance, anything i like could be the beginning of the end for the white cubed room showing things that sell. it could also usher in a more democratic scene wherein the so-called 'intellectuals', university art-speak writers, curators and critics, along with the professional grant and funding experts get rocked.
9. would you choose the baked bean jaffle or the caramelised pumpkin and red onion tart with crispy radicchio and hazelnut salad with apple vinaigrette? baked bean jaffle. in my desire for simplicity i would be compelled to deal with the alternative.
10. finish this sentence: "the work of art can / cannot be considered separately to the artist because ________." the work of art cannot be considered separately to the artist because both the artist and the work of art complete each other; are one.
check out more of john's work at: www.johnbartlett.info
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