Biography - John Crabtree U.K

He had a brief dalliance at Art College but is generally self taught .His inspiration comes from pictographs,picture writing ,primitive /aboriginal and children’s art,mythic and medieval iconography with elements of schematics ,cartoon and graffiti. He is very much inspired by the theology of the ordinary and common place and wryly says ‘if you can’t see it’ in your local bus-station you ain’t going to see it in Tibet ‘. He sources much of his imagery from walking in the environment where he lives .Road graphs,the stains on pavements: marks on skips , wheelie bins and general detritus such as fragments of plastic and objects crushed by traffic-happenstance he calls it .


The objects he collects are initially drawn in biro in the way of a still life to generate a composition/assembly much like a musical or graphic score :experimenting and playing with tonal inflection,scale,juxtaposition and expression .He likens the process /practice to the guitarist and muscle memory -finding a riff and groove -finding a blue note -an edge that vitalizes and embodies the work. It is about instinct and direct experience.
He comments in reference to Picasso about the significance and crucial iimportance of finding a motif -an axial image that is integral to the composition and has a resonance-it liberates. It can wake up’ and bring to life a clumsy image an overworked or awkward line, a mistake or incidental spill or stain.De Koonig he comments had the notion of the first glimpse’ an immediate recognition of whether the painting or image was realized and had a presence i.e real.
His influences are Picasso and especially the series of paintings around Maninas a painting by Valasques and the formidable Guernica.Cezanne’s Bathers that was formative in influencing the direction of modern art. Matisse’s wonderful and almost schematic image of The Way of the Cross in the Chapel of the Rosary in Vence -France and The Studio Rouge .And a nod to Guston of course .


He loves schematics and the exploded diagrams of self assemblies .Fragments that are put together as if a dismembered god (resurrected ) in the form of a wardrobe from IKEA or Orgone Accumulator .A manifesto of existential Self-Assembly philosophy !The mythiic pattern of dismembering and re-membering (disembodied/embodied )is an enduring theme in his work .He comments on the age of communication, of the torrential information,the surveillance,mis-information with the issues of isolation and exposure -attention/focus :of instant access and the obsession with speed - the addiction to screens and a labyrinth of selfies .He cites from friends of children swiping and scrolling books :a cell phone given to a baby as a soother .Himself dilating an image in a newspaper !We often live he says in what seems a headless society ,in a cerebral world of data -no face to face or in social media relationship without relationship .

Lastly a quote :
“the artist is not a special kind of person :rather ,each person is a special kind of artist ‘-Coomaraswamy.
This is a liberating and democratic statement not in compliance to academic or aesthetic concepts it is about the wonder of the heart."

He lives and works in Austria.




John Crabtree wurde 1949 in Nottinghamshire, Großbritannien geboren. Bis auf die Ausbildungszeit am Northwich Art Collage in den Jahren 1967-1969 ist der Künstler Autodidakt. Traditionell beschäftigt sich John Crabtree mit Zeichnungen und bildlicher figurativer Kunst. In den letzten Jahren lag sein Schwerpunkt in der dramatischen Landschaftsmalerei. Seine Einflüsse sind breit gefächert und reichen von Goya, Picasso, Miro, Tàpies sowie den großen englischen Landschaftsmalern und den alten deutschen und österreichischen Meistern.


Er arbeitet mit renommierten Künstlern weltweit zusammen. Über sozialer Medien und dem klassischen postalen Austausch entstehen so collaborations – Gemeinschaftswerke. 


Wir präsentieren hier die intensiven Landschaften, welche während seiner häufigen Aufenthalte in den österreichischen Alpen entstanden sind. Die dramatischen Zeichnungen sind gekennzeichnet durch eine einzigartige und anspruchsvolle Technik. Ganz besonders freuen wir uns hier auch die einzigartigen collaborations vorstellen zu dürfen, welche in Zusammenarbeit mit der renommierten österreichischen Künstlerin Andrea Holzinger entstanden sind.


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