17 Jan 2019
Solo exhibition for renowned Loughborough sculptor
Vanishing Point, an exhibition of studio sculptures and wall-based artworks by John Atkin, Reader in Fine Art at Loughborough University, will open to the public at Felix & Spear Gallery in London on 2 February.
The seeds of John’s new series are evident in his very early works where he explored spatial form and separation of picture planes. Early influences such as Frank Stella (Exotic Birds) and Richard Diebenkorn (Ocean Park), as well as Mondrian’s drawings of trees, are also discernible. However, John has now deployed a distinct physicality to the artworks through the use of collage alongside materials such as Perspex. His use of digital media together with traditional methods of practice has permitted an experimental approach to the application of colour and form, used in preparatory drawing and prints.
The notion of landscape is palpable in the Vanishing Point series: although the works are not studies of specific locations, they are a distillation of memories associated with landscape which continues to influence his studio practice.
About John Atkin, MA (RCA) FRSS
John trained as a painter at Leicester Polytechnic (1978-81) before embarking on a three-year MA in Sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London (1982-85).
The landscape of his native heath in Teesdale, Co. Durham, was the focus for much of his early inspiration, alongside the industrial interface between the land and the sea in the North East of England. His early work charted journeys throughout this landscape, capturing the transformational qualities of seasons, and particularly snowfall, which altered and simplified the rural landscape in and around Barnard Castle into a tapestry of shapes and planes, challenging the viewer’s perspective of a seemingly infinite landscape delineated by drystone walls and field boundaries that characterised much of this region known as the Land of the Prince Bishops.
Since leaving the RCA, where Henry Moore personally funded him throughout his MA sculpture course, John has exhibited his work worldwide: Guggenheim Museum in Italy, Museum of Modern Art Melbourne and New Orleans Museum of Art are three such examples of high-profile venues. Recent publications on John’s public art output focus on references to cultural heritage within urban design.
In recent years, John has been invited to present keynote papers at conferences worldwide, including the 16th China Sculpture Forum, DIAOSU-National Sculpture Magazine of China, and Sculpture by the Sea Symposium at the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, Australia. In addition, Understanding the Post-Industrial City, Universidade Técnica de Lisboa Bauhaus - Universitat Weimar, Lisbon, Portugal; International Sculpture Centre Conference, Pittsburgh, USA; and most recently at the Future Academy Symposium, Curating in Action – Art as Social Practice, China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, China. His contribution to these conferences and seminars embraces all aspects of cross-disciplinary practice within the sphere of re-shaping public space, and within the history and culture of specific locales.
John’s studio practice continues to be the vital element in the development of his work, which explores notions of human identity through abstract form, using traditional and digital skills in the development of 2D and 3D artworks.
John is a Reader in Fine Art at Loughborough University, where his research is central to his teaching delivery. He has taught and delivered lectures at numerous institutions worldwide including Boston University, USA; Tsinghua University, Beijing, China; Virginia Commonwealth University, USA; Kansas City Art Institute, USA; Hartford University, CT, USA; Sydney College of the Arts, Australia; Victoria College, Melbourne, Australia; and The Curtin Institute, Perth, Australia.
John is a recent recipient of a prestigious University Award (2017-2018) from Loughborough University, which has facilitated a concentrated period of practice-based research, exploring the interface between digital and traditional modes of making. His outcomes will target outward-facing opportunities for public art projects here in the UK and worldwide.
He has also been awarded Honorary Fellow, National Academy of Sculpture, Beijing, and is Fellow at the Royal Society of Sculptors, London.
Vanishing Point will run from Saturday 2 February to Saturday 9 March 2019 at Felix & Spear Gallery.
Main image: John Atkin. Image courtesy of Andrew Wilkes.
Inline image: Vanishing Point nos.3. Encaustic, Perspex, MDF on templates on plywood. 200x152x10cm. John Atkin © 2018.