top of page

John Wyatt-Clarke

My paintings are about our confused relations with the non-human world. They are about living with the forces that determine so much of our existence in the world. We are swept along by time, held down by gravity, spun through night and day; we age, we get sick, we die; much of what we do is beyond our control, we must breathe, eat, drink, sleep, we do not choose what we will dream. We contain and are surrounded by creatures that disregard us. Ideologies, beliefs, societal systems limit what we can think and even feel. We live in a time of knowledge and information, but our own understanding is doubtful and troubling, and often in conflict with our instincts.

I am trying to make sense of the world, a pursuit which I recognise is both urgent and futile. I spend my studio days exploring the role of visual languages in understanding ourselves and the world that we are part of but distanced from. The gap between my comprehension and the thing I fail to grasp is the space in which my subjects can be themselves. Many of my images derive from scientific and pseudo-scientific diagrams taken from academic papers, textbooks, manuscripts and codices from the recent and distant past. The presence of diagrams in such texts is an admission of the inadequacy of verbal explanations. They are modern exemplars of the ancient ambivalence towards images.

bottom of page