John O’Carroll’s recent work is built upon cumulated and curated impressions of the spaces through which he has traveled. With a studio in Dakleh Oasis (Egypt) and Cornwall, he is uniquely positioned to address and explore a range of landscapes, both cultural and physical. His work continues to be influenced by the culture and symbols contained in ancient Celtic manuscripts.His study of the structure and soil conditions of the Egyptian desert landscape, and the artifacts uncovered there, add depth and further reference in his paintings. The untamed Cornwall coast brings its own inspiration, as he depicts the water spattering against stone in sumptuous black, white and grey tones. In his systematic, compelling way, O’Carroll brings the most remarkable of these various worlds together.
O’Carroll makes prominent use of gold leaf, gesso and tempera in his latest series. These materials are also used in early Christian, Coptic iconography, the inspiration of his newest work. Beyond the Coptic tradition, O’Carroll’s work has also been shaped by early icons of St. Katherine monastery, a Greek Orthodox edifice located in the Sinai desert where he lived for a time among the monks. In addition to gold leaf, O’Carroll has also integrated copper leaf into his paintings, enhancing its oxydation process to striking effect. Using these exceptional, delicate materials, O’Carroll creates a spectacular interpretation of the various landscapes he occupies. The Cornwall coast is as distant from human civilization as the Egyptian oasis, as the climate and soil conditions of both spaces make living a near-impossible challenge. As an artist, he experiences these landscapes and their histories as opportunities to reflect and meditate. In the exhibition at Galerie Roger Katijk, O’Carroll additonally displays wooden objects found during excavations of the Dakleh Oasis Project, for which O’Carroll is architectural illustrator. Also included in this exhibition are 3D prints of a Paleolithic bow O’Carroll found in the Sahara.
John O’Carroll (Cornwall, 1958)
The Bristish artist John O’Carroll trained at Cornwall College of Art and Design. Following his studies, he took part in numerous national and international art events, such as the International Biennale of Alexandria ‘Discovering The Book’ (2005). His work has been displayed in many spaces abroad, including the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York City, and in Cairo at both the British Embassy and the residence of the Dutch ambassador (2013).
In 2012, the Rijks Museum of Antiquities in Leiden included John O’Carroll among other artists in the ‘Colours Of Oasis’ exhibition. In 2015, he was featured at the Nederlands-Vlaams Institute in Cairo. The following year he took part in the ‘Antropocine’ exhibition of the Eden Project in Cornwall. This past year, his work was shown in Circle Contemporary, a gallery in Wadebridge, Cornwall.
Cornwall’s work can be found in a range of private collections as well as significant corporate collections, such as those of Akzo Nobel, AMC, VUmc, Loyens & Loeff, Accenture and the NCM British Headquarters in Cardiff.