John Grice’s work is inspired by a love of nature, forged during long walks over the South Downs near his former home in Brighton, where encounters with wild flowers, wooded valleys and native birds formed lasting impressions. John lives and works in Bristol and frequently visits Cornwall – the contrasting urban and rural landscapes continue to provide a rich source of imagery for his work.
John’s oil paintings show a mastery of his medium – his skillfully balanced compositions comprise disparate elements, described by complex and varied painterly techniques. The manipulation of paint to convey a delicate petal, the sheen of a vase or the dappled feathers of a bird’s wing imbue these works with tangibility and infinite visual interest.
The marrying of the traditional subjects of landscape and still life is a recurrent theme, highlighting our relationship with wildlife and the environment. John cleverly subverts the traditional notion of still life painting – the accutely observed flowers and birds juxtaposed in many of his works are instantly alluring, however on closer inspection, narratives emerge of darker subjects such as political corruption or environmental degradation, themes which are particularly resonant today. This simultaneous sense of attraction and repulsion forms the conceptual basis for much of his work.
Earlier still life paintings reveal a more graphic approach to painting with the angular, abstract shape of a table’s edge creating a framework for meticulously rendered vases of flowers. Depth is flattened in these works, with competing planes of vibrant colour playing with our perception of space. In later still life paintings surreal elements emerge from designs on vases or densely patterned backgrounds.
John has become increasingly drawn to the elements of design and visual poetry found in Chinese and Japanese paintings and prints. These have formed a source of inspiration for his paintings along with the works of Van Gogh, David Hockney, John James Audubon, Walton Ford and Stanley Spencer.
John's paintings have been shown in various group exhibitions with Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, Victoria Art Gallery, Bath, South West Academy, Exeter, Plymouth Society of Artists and Delamore Summer Show, Cornwood. He has also shown works in Innocent Fine Art, Clifton, Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, Eton, Alverton Gallery, Penzance and currently at the Brownston Gallery, Modbury.
He won the Brownston Gallery Painting Prize at the South West Academy Open Exhibition in Exeter Castle in 2016.
Royal West of England Academy
Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Bath
Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery
Brownston Gallery, Modbury
Innocent Fine Art, Bristol
Aveston Gallery, Penzance