John Virtue

New Paintings


On the eve of the publication of the monograph John Virtue written by Paul Moorhouse and published by Albion Barn Publishing and Ridinghouse, Albion Barn is delighted to present an exhibition of new paintings by John Virtue.

These new paintings represent a bold new departure for John Virtue. The artist’s career so far has connected to landscape and, more recently to seascape, with a ritualistic importance to drawing. However, these new works have led into the realm of abstraction. One body of work in particular is startling. It has been fair to say that John Virtue has always painted black and white paintings, however, these new works are undoubtedly white and black paintings. A handful of visitors who have seen them in the studio have already christened them “the white paintings”.

In 2017, in a text written by Martin Gayford and in an interview directed by Paul Moorhouse for John Virtue’s 40th birthday exhibition, many art historical sources were quoted from Turner, Goya, Pollock to Baselitz and Kiefer. These newest works, with their constant Tachist signature also refer to Japanese calligraphy; they are nonetheless entirely apart.

John Virtue (b. 1947) is one of the most distinguished painters working today in the United Kingdom. Virtue studied at the Slade School of Fine Art from 1965 to 1969, where his teachers included Frank Auerbach and Euan Uglow. Since 2009, he has lived in North Norfolk, where he has found inspiration routinely walking four and a quarter of a mile each way along the beach, on the same day and same time weekly. John Virtue is presented in major public collections worldwide, and has been exhibited in museum shows including the Tate St Ives, the Yale Center for British Art, and the National Gallery.