John Barkley

Becoming Immanent, 2014, Oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm Becoming Immanent, 2014, Oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm

Artist and scholar John Barkley (Canadian, born 1964) began painting and drawing as a boy. He was encouraged by his artist-father with whom he went on painting trips in the Ottawa valley. A practicing professional artist since 1996, Barkley experiments with thick paint application and varied brushstrokes to create abstract landscapes that simultaneously evoke both a quiet contemplation of nature but also its chaotic excess and mystery.

Today, Barkley creates dense, layered  and purely abstract paintings inspired by his studies in philosophy, psychology and religion. In organic shapes, bright colors and dark voids, he interrogates the psychic terrain of human consciousness.

In his studio, a conceptual point of entry is soon replaced by intuition and experiment as he ponders on how to depart from a mode of modern secular monophasic consciousness into an experience of interconnected consciousness with nature and all living things. What can we tell about human existence—its place within the greater scheme of life, but also how our views about our place in the world impact our relationship with the surrounding environment?

Taken together his work reflects a new hermeneutic of art based upon the work of Jung, Tillich and Heidegger. With a well-developed vocabulary of abstraction and symbolic forms, his paintings examine the relationship between art, cosmogony, and the contemporary human psyche and consciousness while his studies in philosophy and theology set out to challenge conventional wisdom and advocate the adoption of a new mythology.

Artist Statement

Everything that exists is energy. Energy can take several forms. Energy transforms. As matter, energy has form, colour, taste, and sound. The painter converts paint and his or her internal and external energy into art, sometimes this expression is conceptual, poetic, or narrative and often it is some combination of all of these.

Colours can communicate shapes, form, and sound. Colour comes from light. Today scientists draw hypothesis about the origin and composition of the universe from pictures taken from the Hubble telescope. Colour provides us with a means to begin to know the universe in its infancy and identify when and how the elements were formed. It allows us to determine the age of a star and variance in light intensity has allowed for the discovery of planets beyond our solar system.

Colour being symbolic can also provide us with insight into ourselves , others and our world both internal and external. Colours communicate feelings, moods, and states of mind. In yoga, Chakras (psycho-energy stations, places where internal energies pool) have associated colours.

We give meaning to certain colours used in combination with certain shapes and objects. The black void is the place of the abyss, the ground of being, the uncaused cause, the great Mother, the unconscious. Black is the colour of interior space. The Goddess is dormant within that black space.

In this body of work I recognize the beginning of a return to more overt symbolism within my abstraction. As one lets go and enters into communion with the energies of the ancestors paint transcends its mere physical limitation and becomes something more. When this happens the work speaks and colour becomes transformed into sound.




Available works

Finding The Space, 2013, Oil on canvas, 102 x 122
Tapas (Heat), 2010, oil on canvas, 152 x 183 cm
Of Things Made and Unmade, 2013, Oil on canvas, 122 x152 cm
Magna Mater, 2013, Oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm
Impetus, 2010, oil on canvas, 76 x 76 cm
Rugged Country, 2014, Oil on canvas, 76 x 91 cm
Becoming Immanent, 2014, Oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm
Revision, 2010, oil on canvas, 76 x 76 cm

SOLD works

Colours Beneath, 2014, Oil on canvas, 96 x 91 cm (sold)
It All Changes, 2012, oil on canvas, 152 x 183cm (Sold)

The Way of Things, 2014, Oil on canvas, 122 x 122 cm

Regeneration, 2010, oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm (Sold)
Ever Evolving, 2012, Oil on canvas, 122 x 152 cm (Sold)
Moving Towards Imago, 2011, oil on canvas, 122 x 152cm (Sold)
Another Go Around, 2010, oil on canvas, 152 x 183 cm (Sold)
The Beginning and End #2, 2012, oil on canvas, 122 x 152cm (Sold)
A Light In, 2010, oil on canvas, 152 x 183 cm (Sold)