John Devane: Paintings

John Devane (Artist)

Research output: Practice-Based and Non-textual ResearchExhibition

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Solo exhibition of fourteen paintings on canvas dealing with modes of representation in relation to themes inspired by narrative figuration in film. 
Title of exhibition: John Devane Paintings.The fourteen paintings included in this exhibition were developed over three years and are the culmination of a process of developing figurative imagery that is developed from personal photographic reference material and in part inspired by film makers including Peter Greenaway.
Context: Although disparate in terms of theme and subject matter all of the pictures in this exhibition are linked by a desire to create a meaningful static figurative image in a world saturated by digital imagery. In contextual terms the paintings have their roots in the works of Edgar Degas, Edward Hopper and also William Orpen. One of the pictures included in the exhibition is a direct transcription of a painting by William Orpen entitled: Le Chef de l'Hotel Chatham painted in 1921.
aims:The aim of this body of work was to explore narrative figuration through paintings that were derived from a range of sources including: film stills, personal subject matter and other paintings. A number of the pictures were directly inspired by Peter Greenaway's film entitled: 'The cook, the thief, his wife and her lover'.
Methodology: The paintings although inspired by the film, are not direct transcriptions of film stills but evolve through a process of improvisation and are thus distinct entities in their own right. The methodology ( a collage like process) aims to explore the validity and status of the painted image as a repository of sometimes disparate imagery that through the process of painting aims to achieve a degree of pictorial unity and harmony. Each painting is a crafted object which is constructed with a knowledge of the key western conventions of figurative painting and in particular the 'materiality' of painting. However, the conventions of western painting are rightly contested in the postmodern age and therefore the imposition of digital source material is in part an attempt to reconcile the diametrically opposed ideas that ensue from the point of tension or point of contact that exists when a 'painted mark' or brush stroke also evokes the notion of photographic replication. Thus the pictorial space is informed by photography but is realised through physical materiality of the paint. The contextual underpinning for my research relates quite directly to the work of German painter Gerhard Richter but also to the more controversial practice of Odd Nerdrum. My ongoing study of the work of Odd Nerdrm is explored in a paper delivered at TRAC2019 'Imagine' (The Representational Art Conference) 2019. My paper entitled: Visual Imagination & touch: the painted mark in representational painting - emerged as a comparative case study of the paintings of Lucian Freud and Odd Nerdrum and the extent to which their practice relies on primary source material as a point of inspiration.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publication60 Threadneedle St., London
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2018
EventJohn Devane Paintings : Recent work - Sixty Threadneedle St London EC2R 8HP, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Jan 201818 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Exhibition of fourteen original paintings by John Devane exhibited at Sixty Threadneedle St London EC2R 8HP

Additional Information

This work was selected by VJB ARTS.


  • painting
  • Figurative Art
  • film
  • representation


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