In John Whalley's own words, “As an artist living on the Maine coast, my drawings and paintings are still lives and landscapes, telling my story of life here from perhaps a less visited viewpoint. They frequently contain as their subjects scenes and some of the thousands of old items, which I call “orphaned objects”, that fill the shelves of my studio, that have come to reflect an aspect of what ‘Maine’ means to me.
As for a common theme in my work, I’d have to say it is one of redemption; saving from trash bins, flea market tables, the sea shore, and antique shops, natural or man-made objects bearing the patinas and marks of many decades of use and abuse. I think there is truth in the saying, “the best art is made from un-artful things”; the paradox of the particular beauty found in the humble and the broken.
To be able to take things regarded as little more than refuse and to paint them in such a way as to reveal their beauty, allowing them to tell their own humble stories and unique histories of service, I find very meaningful. Its one thing to draw or paint well something already intrinsically ‘beautiful’, but to take the thing that might be regarded as “unlovely” and show its own beauty and dignity is, I think, a higher good.”
John Whalley was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he received his BFA in Painting and Illustration in 1976. John began his career illustrating in the Boston area for such publishers as Little Brown, Houghton Mifflin, and such magazines as Yankee and Atlantic Monthly. He went on to focus on his fine art paintings and drawing, working in oil, egg tempera and graphite, and over the last 40 years, his work has been exhibited widely across the U.S. and abroad. Some of his solo exhibitions have been at the Georgia Museum of Art, The Coral Springs Museum of Art in Florida, The Lord Hall Gallery - University of Maine, The Kemper Museum of Art. His work is also in the collections of The Portland Museum of Art, Colby College Museum of Art, Kemper Museum of Art, Kansas, and the Puratos Sourdough Museum in Belgium.
John is represented by Greenhut Galleries of Portland Maine and Vose Galleries of Boston.
A 30 year retrospective book of his work is entitled “John Whalley - In New Light”, and his work can also be seen at www.johnwhalley.com, www.greenhutgalleries.com, and www.vosegalleries.com.