John Squire’s artwork has a legacy dating back over twenty-five years. When asked at his inaugural exhibitions in 2007, ‘When did you start to paint again?’ The answer, very clearly was, ‘I have never stopped’.
2004 was a turning point in Squires creative career. Having released his second solo album, Marshall’s House in which each track was dedicated to a painting by legendary American painter Edward Hopper, the balance of influences tipped. Music ceased to take the centre stage, as the creative drive to focus on visual art took hold. In order to draw a line under his past practice Squire exhibited for the first and last time the original artwork which had been celebrated on the album covers of the previous two decades. These dual exhibitions at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA), London and in a large warehouse space in central Manchester saw unprecedented audiences pay homage to a time, music and aesthetic, which Squire had been pivotal in the creation off, now laid to rest.
This period of cultural exorcism, freed Squire to focus his energies on creating an aesthetic, which reflected his own ideals and vision. In typical fashion he retreated to his home studio and over a period of two and a half years, to explore form, layering and tone within the canvas, excavate beneath the surface of the canvas and creating sculptural forms from within the image. This intense period of experimentation allowed Squire to free up his style to introduce new materials and work with their texture as the guiding point for the work. These years, created a style which is inimitably John Squires’ own and which, with some persuasion, was ready to be presented for public and critical attention.
These exhibitions took place in July 2007 (Smithfield Gallery, London), and September 2007 (Dazed & Confused Gallery, London). The Smithfield Gallery exhibited a diverse body of explorations into colour and built surfaces on the canvas as Squire employed a bold cocktail of sand, glue and impasto oils to demarcate the individual layers. This technique was more finely honed within the Dazed Gallery show where a neutral palate mixed with opaque and transparent layers of wax created a glass like structure as fine films of tone were constructed against the rough surface of a Hessian backdrop. This show also saw Squires departure into mixed media with the introduction of brown paper to add more sculptural dimension to the work.
Following these initial successes, Squire refined his work to incorporate text, sculpture, subversions of landscapes and repeated symbols within the following three exhibitions (March 2008, Signal Gallery, London. October 2008 at the SW1 Gallery, London, culminating in a major solo show at the Gallery Oldham over the summer of 2009).
In November 2009, Squire was invited to exhibit a new collection of artworks in Tokyo, Japan. For this show, he focussed on the repetition of a single image sourced from the every-day. Using a bold palate, these images reflected a new graphic quality in his style.
In addition to two regional shows in York and Bristol in early 2010, Squire has spent the first half of this year developing an aesthetic towards this major show at The Henderson Gallery. Having an established exhibition record behind him, Squire has developed the confidence in his practise to re-investigate the language of music from the perspective of a visual artist. Taking the music from Miles Davis’s Nefertiti as the principle source, Squire, abstracts a quasi-fictional grammar, as he re-appropriates the music to a visual language. He abstracts the chord sequences and notes to a series of numbers and dots representing the frets on a guitar. These are then woven into the repeated forms on the canvas. The finished works represent a musical score not to be played and which exists only in the context of the rarefied process of their own creation. As with all of Squires practise to date, the everyday environment, be it conversation, landscape, packaging or music, becomes unravelled and reworked to be presented in a challenging new guise.
V.G.C.M. Vivienne Gaskin Cultural Management Ltd., www.viviennegaskin.comBrowse work by this artist