Copyright © 2012 John R. Barkley. All rights reserved.
I have been pursuing a professional artistic practice since 1996. I am known, primarily as an abstract painter. My work is influenced by my interests in nature, cosmogony, existential questions and a love of painting. Sometimes the work is more overtly conceptual, but often it remains a painterly depiction of the process of my artistic enquiry. I start with a conceptual idea but then the art making process largely directs the completion, and one work often then leads to another. In my work I examine consciousness by using abstraction. My work is inspired by the idea that what exists within the human psyche is interconnected with what is happening in nature. Our ideas about existence effect who we think we are and how we interact with each other and the environment.

I have developed a visual vocabulary drawn from both nature and industry. I often contrast the organic with the geometric, and make use of other visual opposites to create tension in the work. At times I also use dark void forms to symbolize the unconscious, the unknown, and refer to the initial state of being "Nothingness" as embedded in numerous creation myths and esoteric texts. I frequently use the image of water or the void itself in combination with an imposed linear structure, to arrive at a critical narrative while investigating paint application. This approach also enables me to explore the potential of combining painterly abstraction with hard edge abstraction while initiating both aesthetic content and cultural critique.

Discoveries drawn from ecological science and astronomy now are beginning to reshape how we see ourselves, the world and existence itself. The artist must now face the blank canvas and, once again, examine our place within existence. Thus, he or she plays an active role in the shaping of contemporary consciousness.

My work exists as a consequence of a well fought battle with the canvas and within my myself. The paintings themselves depict this struggle, yet within it, something emerges that is meaningful and aesthetic.

"The paintings are about humanity's tendency to impose structure on nature. Nature balks at being tamed, and does its best to bring itself back to the state in which it was meant to be, no matter what we do to it. They are also about our desire to frame the cosmos, by explaining it-but it insists on remaining mysterious."
- Melanie Scott