John Clare

John's paintings are an attempt to describe the lived experience, day by day, of the world we inhabit in all its strangeness and its ordinariness. John states, "For me it is a language which is not translatable into words. Just as we remember a dream but cannot think how we created it, similarly paintings emerge which surprise us. We don’t know where they came from. An image emerges without conscious intention. This is how I feel reality is. There’s always something missing which is essential to who we are. It is this otherness which I try to capture; this lacuna. The process is one of not knowing, of abandoning any attempt to get somewhere.

As Francis Bacon put it: “I’m at my best when I don’t know what I’m doing.” For me there is an affinity with the jazz aesthetic. If you listen to a John Coltrane solo you are hearing something improvised, spontaneous, immediate and not premeditated. It’s a precarious business but as Miles Davis said, “If you make a mistake, repeat it.Make your mistakes a strength rather than a weakness.”


Jazz spontaneity, the dream space, marks on canvas. The subject which then emerges acts as the bait to catch the unconscious connections. An image which comes from the unconscious has a potency and energy. This was how Van Gogh captured the intensity of reality. He said you need to make changes in reality, which become lies that are truer than the ritual truth. Often it’s not what you put in but what you leave out that matters."

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