This week, English artist John Greenwood presents his trippy portrait painting titled ‘The Phrenologists Fantasy’. He explains ‘'This is one of a series of 'Heads' I've been working on for awhile now. Influenced by the work of artists like the Italian Mannerist painter Arcimboldo, the early 20thC German illustrator Fritz Kahn, the contemporary Austrian Graffitti artist Nychos-the-weird and fond memories of reading the Numbskulls in the Beano as a child. The paintings are small and the image is placed in an illusionistic box. The idea is that pictures are about head size and confront the viewer like distorted mirrors, depicting the interaction of fantastical forms that dwell on the borders of identification without ever neatly settling into precise recognition. Their unsettling and absurd nature hopefully both encourages speculation on our own inner workings while also mocking the presumption that such an endeavour is either possible or valuable.
This body of work developed an intensity for me about 3 years ago when one of my oldest and dearest friends was suffering from a life threatening brain tumour, which required 2 operations to nullify. When I was visiting him during a recovery period I came across some of the MRI scans of his head. They were medically blank and unreadable to me while simultaneously encouraging an awareness I was staring at the essence of my friends problem as well as the source of his character, experiences and memories. There was so little to see in the pictures and so much to imagine. The sliced visions through his head often captured views which looked like howling masks, much richer to me than the medical information they captured to his surgeons”.
Go see NOW!! (if you live around the Hoxton area).