King Street Gallery on William

John Bartley

“Well, How did I get here?”

25 June - 20 July, 2024

“I don’t sketch or sit in the countryside painting.

I stand in a windowless space. One black painting wall lit by a single LED floodlight. It’s theatre. I tend to work on one picture at a time. I have this physical and mental dialogue with a shape until we come to an agreement that enough is enough.

The only preconceived decisions before starting are

its dimensions and what colour should go down first.

I don’t know which way is up until near the end.

I am grasping for the untouchable, the indescribable, an elusive darkness.

I do not know what it is but I know when I’m close.

The good ones have a mystery at their core that feels
deeply satisfying to me.

The ones I love the most often remain unloved by others. This doesn’t change my opinion.

What am I trying to achieve now? I’m just taking a painting out for a walk along a tightrope, trying not to fall off. Meanwhile, Florence Welch sings ‘Free’ through the speakers at the top of her lungs.”

– John Bartley, 2024