Collection: John Perkins: A Plague Upon This Howling

A Plague Upon This Howling references Shakespeare's The Tempest and our current Covid-induced storms of life.

Over the last two years as the usual modes of interaction and creative expression were disrupted, artists were encouraged to innovate in socially distanced digital spaces. 

Paradoxically for a digital image maker, I found myself drawn instead to seeking human connection by painting with friends Saturday mornings using simple materials- cheap sketchbooks, markers, paint and whiteout - to work with line, colour, texture, form - and conversation. 

The sessions drew out our expressions of the chaos and uncertainty of the times and for me became a visual journal of my experience with isolation, lockdown, upheaval, distress and fearfulness.

The digital work explores inserting visual virus into the host image in much the same way biological viruses invade our lives then mutate, transform, and commandeer.

John Perkins makes art in a variety of modalities that invites us to explore the emergence of perception from abstraction and our emotional responses to it.   His work occupies a fluid niche between painting and photography involving brushwork, camerawork and digital constructions.

Inspired by Color Field painters and abstractionists who willed the eye to see beyond the picture, Perkins is concerned with how the act of viewing make us feel.  As viewing transforms to deeper looking he pushes us to notice in our body as much as in our mind.

John’s first teacher was his mother, an accomplished ecclesiastical embroideress. Later he studied perceptual psychology,  then briefly at the NS College of Art and Design.  

John recently returned to Nova Scotia after a 12 year residency in the acclaimed Mexican arts centre of San Miguel de Allende. His work is in collections in Canada, the USA and Mexico.

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