An exhibition of New Works
Date: Oct 22 – Nov 4Space: Small Gallery
John Tarlton is back with an exhibition full of New Works.
John Tarlton’s paintings and prints fit outside the norm of traditional figurative and landscape motif found in much of New Zealand painting. He sees himself as a storyteller, whose works are organic in their creation. He doesn’t use sketchbooks to develop his concepts. Instead chooses to start with a single image that takes his fancy and then lets the narrative build from there. The stories grow as he makes connections. Throughout the works humour, pun, and satire are used to titillate the viewers reading.
John Tarlton first exhibited his art in New Zealand in the heady Auckland art scene of the mid-seventies. Since then he has had numerous one man fine art shows in New Zealand, Australia and the United States, as well as pursuing many years of active practice as a lecturer, academic, and art educator. His work is represented in several private collections and the public collections of Te Papa, Auckland City Art Gallery, Rotorua City Art Gallery, Waikato Museum of History and Art, Te Manawa (Museum of Art Science History, Palmerston North), University of Auckland, and the State University of New York at Albany.
A California-born New Zealander, John received degrees in fine art at the undergraduate and graduate levels from the State University of New York at Albany, and also studied for a year with Rudi Gopas, William Sutton and Philip Trusttum at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts (Ilam) in 1972. In addition, he holds a PhD in Vocational Art Education from Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia.
Tarlton has always intentionally flown somewhat under the radar. To date, he remains what the New Zealand writer Kevin Ireland described in a Listener review as an artist who:
“…has resisted identification with art movements or groups that might have endorsed his reputation… He is very much an individualist– a virtuoso draftsman, a player of visual games and a wit…” (N.Z. Listener, April 29, 1991).
As noted, his paintings and prints have always fit outside the norm of traditional figurative and landscape motifs found in much of New Zealand painting. Instead, the preference here is to present works which are mainly witty and sometimes irreverent engagements– personal discourses and visual narratives which probe both the individual and the universal on aspects of the human condition.
In other words, the works can be seen as playful and amusing puzzles; disparate clues and cues presented to fancifully define the moods, manners, points-of-view and preoccupations of our personal and communal lived worlds, social concepts and constructs, and presuppositions. They promote the possibility for viewer alternative reflection of past and present events, celebrity, relationships, life, love, history, culture, cuisine, politics, or any number of other subjects Tarlton decides to dissect.
While overall the tenor of the paintings and prints are both humorous and intellectual, themes run a gauntlet anywhere from stony-faced and reflective historicity, to dead pan, tongue-in-cheek satire, and text analogues. Throughout the works humour, pun, and satire (suggested by the use of combinations of concordant or contradictory imagery, collage, and texts) are used to titillate the viewer’s reading.
These days Tarlton primarily works on paper, using a full spectrum of media that includes watercolour, acrylic, gouache, ink, pencil and collage. The surfaces move seamlessly from passages of realistically rendered subjects, to areas of action painting and elements of collage. Compositions seem effortlessly balanced, as are the carefully thought out and engaging interplays of positive and negative space.
This exhibition provides the public a rare opportunity to observe this individual and unique voice within contemporary New Zealand fine art.
While versed in most traditional painting and drawing media, I have predominantly concentrated on mixed media (on paper or wood surfaces), utilising watercolour, stencil, printing, transfers, acrylic, gouache, ink and aspects of collage. I have also attempted to juxtapose realist techniques in association with expressionistic-like action painted passages. I also reinforce many of my paintings’ intents by the introduction of related, associated passages of text. These are used not only for their literal meaning but also as element of double coding and compositional device.
In addition, I am interested in portraying events, people, philosophies, and concepts through their subjective association within the viewer’s frame of reference. The themes and intentions of my work can run anywhere from sombre and reflective historicity, to dead pan, tongue-in-cheek satire and text analogues mirroring the human condition. Aspects of humour, pun, and satire are used to stimulate questions and reflections on lived world presuppositions.
Collections and Exhibitions of John Tarlton
Represented in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, United States and the public collections of:
Te Papa, New Zealand National Art Gallery
Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland
Rotorua City Art Gallery, Rotorua
Waikato Museum of History and Art, Hamilton
Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History. Palmerston North
University of Auckland, Auckland
State University of New York at Albany
Fine Art Selected Exhibitions, One Man
2021 New Paintings, Creative Arts Napier. Napier (Oct 22- Nov 4) Forthcoming
2019 How green was my trevally: Paintings and prints by John Tarlton, Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and History. Palmerston North (9 March-August)
2018 New paintings, Creative Arts Napier. Napier (13-26 April)
2017 “Food for Thought” Paintings, Creative Arts Napier. Napier (March 3-10)
2016 Paintings and prints, Creative Arts Napier. Napier (January 8-28)
2014 Paintings and Prints, Kelley Gallery, Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center. Venice Beach, California (2 February-1 March)
2010 New Works, Southbank Institute of Technology Art Gallery. Brisbane (1-12 March)
2001 Brisbane City Council (Bulimba Library)
1999 Southbank Institute of Tafe (Morningside Art Gallery) Brisbane
1993 Warwick Brown Gallery, Auckland
1992 RKS Art, Auckland
1991 RKS Art, Auckland
1990 RKS Art, Auckland
1990 Waikato Museum of Art and History, Hamilton
1989 RKS Art, Auckland
1989 Lopdell House, Titirangi
1988 Charlotte H. Galleries, Auckland
1988 Rotorua City Art Gallery, Rotorua
1979 Gallerie Legard, Wellington
1978 Rotorua City Art Gallery, Rotorua
1978 Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland
1977 Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland
1977 Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland
Selected Group Exhibitions
2014 South Bay Focus (Juried), Torrance Art Museum, Torrance California (8 November – 5 December)
2004 Technical and Further Education (Tafe) Teachers and Tutors Group Exhibition, Southbank Insitute of Tafe, Brisbane
2003 Tafe Teachers and Tutors Group Exhibition, Southbank Institute of Tafe, Brisbane
2002 Brisbane Illustrators Group (American Bookstore, Brisbane)
2002 Tafe Teachers and Tutors Group Exhibition, Southbank Institute of Tafe, Brisbane
2000 Brodie/Tarlton/White. Space 43, Brisbane
2000 Christmas Exhibition. 482 Gallery, Brisbane
1997 Nola Holmwood Portrait Award (finalist) ASA Gallery, Auckland
1996 Waitakere Licensing Trust Art Award Exhibition, Henderson, N.Z.
1996 “Celebrating the New Zealand Coastline,” North Shore City Art Award
1996 Tokoroa Art Award Exhibition (finalist)
1996 Art and Science Selected Group Exhibition, Portfolio Gallery, Auckland
1996 Pumphouse Art Award (Award winner), North Shore City
1996 Norsewear Art Award Exhibition, Auckland
1995 James Wallace Trust Art Award, Auckland
1995 James Wallace Trust Finalist Art Award, Auckland
1995 Copy Art (Artist Alliance), Outreach, Auckland
1995 Self Portraits, Outreach, Auckland
1995 The Alphabet Show, Pakuranga Community Centre, Pakuranga
1994 Out of the Black (Artists’ Alliance), Outreach, Auckland
1994 Selected Prints, Portfolio Gallery, Auckland
1993 Invited Group Exhibition, Chiaroscuro Gallery, Auckland
1993 Modern Myths, Chiaroscuro Gallery, Auckland
1992 Coastlines, Lopdell House, Titirangi
1992 Isolated and Immuned, Fischer Gallery, Pakuranga
1991 Invited Printmakers, Portfolio Gallery, Auckland
1991 The Nude Show Invitational, Charlotte H. Galleries, Auckland
1991 Drawing Invitational, Portfolio Gallery, Auckland
1991 Still Life Invitational, Charlotte H. Galleries, Auckland
1990 Self-Portrait Invitational, Canterbury Society of Arts, Christchurch
1990 Acquisitions Review, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland
1990 Animals, Animals, Lopdell House, Titirangi
1990 The Wild West Show, Lopdell House, Titirangi
1990 The Realists, Charlotte H. Galleries, Auckland
1979 Figurative Artists, Peter Webb Galleries, Auckland
1979 Air New Zealand Rotorua Civic Art Award, Rotorua
1979 New Year, New Works, Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland
1978 Works for Children, Peter Webb Galleries, Auckland
1978 Rangitoto Special, Peter Webb Galleries, Auckland
1978 New Year, New Works, Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland
1977 Opening Group Exhibition, Rotorua City Art Gallery, Rotorua
1977 Group Print Show, Peter Webb Galleries, Auckland
1977 New Year, New Works, Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland
1976 New Zealand Drawing Invitational, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland
1976 Prints from the Permanent Collection, Auckland City Art Gallery, Auckland
1975 Barry Lett Gallery, Auckland
1975 Barrington Gallery, Auckland