John McAllister: some rhapsodies radiant

23 Nov 2021–18 Dec 2021


This winter, Almine Rech London will present its second solo exhibition of John McAllister from November 23 until December 18, 2021.

Having begun his career studying photojournalism at the University of Texas at Austin, John McAllister had a particular obsession with the spectral qualities of light and its capture. Eventually dedicating himself fully to the pursuit of light and its many dimensions through colour in painting, McAllister moved to California, then New York. It was during his experience working as a night-guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where he came face-to-face with the master post-Impressionists such as Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, and Édouard Vuillard, which in the artist’s words captured “frivolity, hedonism, and pleasure,” he explains. “Instead of making pretty pictures about something serious, I realised I could be serious about making pretty pictures.”

John McAllister’s vibrant palette concentrates on a close range of colours (often lavenders, reds and purples) to produce a distinctive and luxuriant blast. In his large-scale paintings and panoramas, the dualism of flat picture surface and illusionistic depth upsets traditional perspective. Against backgrounds of geometric or foliate patterns that suggest exotic textiles, ersatz wallpaper or other artworks, each work depicts a still life, landscape or decorative interior often elegant yet bordering on the decadent. Opening a window which is simultaneously poetic and metaphoric, John McAllister is playing both the role of contemporary viewer and artist.

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