This exhibition presents 23 paintings and drawings by this little-known Cork artist who has spent most of his adult life in care. John the Painter (so named because of the need to respect his privacy) has been in care since the 1960s, living in a communal and often difficult environment for most of his adult life. Art has given him a means to explore his own feelings and thoughts about that life, surprisingly creating a body of artwork that is exuberantly colourful and celebratory. Much of John’s work is autobiographical, showing vivid memories of Cork in the 1960s before he went into hospital. Paintings of his early life, when he worked as a messenger boy, show backdrops of the buildings and pubs of Cork featuring the local Murphy’s Brewery signage, the Father Matthew Statue and Saint Finbarr’s Cathedral. The exhibition includes one of his most striking works Jet Plane, Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, Boxes, Arrows on Grand Parade, Chinese Version, which has been donated to the Museum, which already holds a major collection of Outsider art in the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Archive.
The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, with a text by William Frodé de la Foret, the artist from Cork Community Artlink, who has worked most closely with John over the past decade (price €10.00).