current exhibition 





 September 24-OCTOBER 3





In Night Light – Sex, Death and Geometry, well-known Newcastle artist John Barnes has developed ideas from former exhibitions to produce a rich and intriguing body of paintings in this, his fourth solo show at Art Systems Wickham.


Barnes has departed from the colour saturated brightness that defined his last exhibition to enter a much darker and more dangerous place; a shadow land where the interplay of colour and tone shifts the mood from calm, quiet contemplation to crackling tension, tinged with a sense of ominous foreboding. 


The geometry that was central to his last exhibition has been further simplified into arrangements which have a strong relationship to music as well as the tradition of formal, abstract painting. However, while the earlier high key paintings were indicative of an endless summer these new low key works push into a darker, extended winter.


The hard edges of these works are counter balanced by a suite of figurative paintings that owe more to crime novels and Film Noir movies than Bach or Frank Stella. While the world burns, black figures of gangsters, spies, politicians, sex workers, priests, oligarchs and assassins create fear and havoc in a zone of perpetual night, a mad and very bad place. But it’s not all doom and gloom as this series is full of humour, albeit black as the craziness that rules our world shows no signs of abating. 


2022-09-02 Night Light , Media Images 1 copy.jpg

Subterranean Standoff - (detail) acrylic on canvas. 2022

2022-09-02 Night Light , Media Images 2.jpg

Subtraction Addition #2   - acrylic on canvas