ALLCOCK, John: ‘My Art’

“My work because does not fit easily into common categories, either from the point of view of its type (or genre) or the way in which I work.  This much will be evident from my website, where the various galleries offer a wide range of styles, media and subject-matter.  With many artists it is possible to tell at a glance who has done the work, but recognition is possibly more difficult in my case.  There are reasons for this, and I believe that there is more that unifies my art than might appear in a casual encounter.  In fact, the longer I remain involved in art the stronger the connections within my work appear to me.”

“To somebody coming for the first time to my painting it might seem that my efforts have been dispersed over several quite different genres.  No doubt much of it could be lumped together as ‘landscape’, although that aspect of it is perhaps misleading in two respects.”

“First of all, my pictures are generally a pretext for thinking about something beyond their obvious subject.  My work always invites the viewer to look behind its immediate reference to something that it stands for, and almost invariably has a metaphorical character.  (To call it symbolist perhaps sounds pretentious, but there is something in that term.)  An illustration of this is my recent series to which I gave the title Into the Woods.  I don’t intend these pictures to be looked at simply as woodland landscapes.  Each of them has something to say about challenges to, and the enduring character of, the self.  (I think that The Tree of Marriage, below,  illustrates this quite well.)”

John Allcock. Tree

“Another reason for claiming that ‘landscape’ is not quite the best term to describe my work is that its focus is frequently very narrow.  I don’t do many ‘views’, but more typically my pictures will take as their object of interest a particular rock, or tree, or the movement of water over rocks.  As I have indicated in my website, one of my persisting concerns has been the nature and significance of time, and in particular its relationship to personal identity.  The very tightly focussed attention to individual objects enables me to explore ideas such as the weathering of rock as a metaphor for changing identity.  (My study entitled Rock Face, below, is a good illustration of this.)”

John Allcock. Stone image

“The idea of ‘landscape’ by no means exhausts the persisting character and interest of my work. A large proportion of my art could be said to be (in one way or another) religious in its intention, although it is certainly not didactic.  I use painting less as a medium through which to make a confession of faith and more as a means of exploring the problematic nature of religious belief and identity.  The way in which this is expressed in my work is very diverse, but it was a powerful element in the motivation behind my recent series entitled Presente!, inspired by Italian experience during the Great War.   Possibly the central idea within my own religious orientation is the idea that there is nothing that cannot be redeemed, and this claim motivates the piece in that series entitled Resurrection” (see image below).

John Allcock . Resurrection

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