John Wilkinson


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I am a Sheffield based painter, working in acrylics on canvas, applied with painting knives and assorted edges. I work from a studio in an old factory in Sheffield’s industrial hinterland. I have been creating and exhibiting as an artist specialising in industrial art since 2011. I am not gallery represented, and to date my marketing and exposure has largely been conducted through social media and self-funded exhibiting. My approach draws upon images from Britain’s industrialial past to remind us of the forgotten histories of the men and women who worked in and supported manufacturing. I paint mostly in acrylics, using painting knives and predominately earth based pigments, in a style occupying the grey areas between abstraction and representation. My work has a narrative quality to it, but is predominately expressive. Exhibiting is a major part of my practice. I build my shows around themes, which are expressed through the exhibition titles.

My work is influenced heavily by the 19th century sublimicists, as well as Kiefer, Turner, Cezanne, Larinov, Malevich, and Lanyon. I regard the period between 1910-1925 as the most exciting time to be an artist, and hope for a future where art regains the relevance it had then.


• Industrial – Group show (4 artists) November 2012 – Gage gallery Sheffield. 20 paintings in a mixed show featuring paintings and sculptures themed around Industrial production and the ecology.

• We are not in the least afraid of ruins – Solo show focusing on our willingness to destroy in order to create. I took this show touring, replacing sold canvases with new works as necessary. Depending on venue I showed 24 – 33 paintings. September 2013 Sheffield Gage gallery: March 2014 Northwich ArtWorks Gallery: May 2014 Congleton Electric Picture House.

• Elements of Place – Joint show with Paul Dearden. June 2015 Gage gallery Sheffield. Two artists respond to the landscape. 15 paintings.

• Voices from the wilderness – Joint show with John Ledger. Two artists respond to the social and infrastructural impact of deindustrialisation. September 2015 Gage gallery Sheffield. 15 paintings.

• Fighting For Crumbs (Art in the shadow of neoliberalism) – group show with John Ledger; Rebekah Whitlam; Connor Matheson; Corrine Deakin & Jonathan Butcher. An installation comprised of installations, photography paintings and film. August 2016 Gage gallery. This show was then invited to participate in the World Transformed fringe festival to the Labour Party conference between 24th – 27th September 2016 and some of the work, including 11 of my paintings and the video we made as part of the show were displayed at the Black-E in Liverpool.

• Abbeydale Reimaged – An exhibition of 14 paintings created during a 50 day residency at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, a working industrial museum in Sheffield, between April – October 2016. The works are intended to evoke an understanding of what the site, and working at it, was like 120 years ago. On show at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet from October 24th – December 31st.