Throughout his career, Virtue's engagement with a single subject landscape has been a painstaking ritual. In 2009, he moved to North Norfolk to square up to the immensity that is sea, sky and weather. This group of small monochrome works, all created during the period 2019-20, are squeezed from a repeated process of observation, drawing and by walking along the same beach, week in, week out, Cley-next-the-sea to Blakeney Point.
'You start off by thinking: what is it? what am I looking at? the sea's impossible. There's nothing there; the paintings are of nothing. And yet it's everything. I'm still fascinated. It's almost as if I've always been making for the sea. I am thinking about vastness and infinity, but not abstraction. How to make new imagery that resonates in a visceral way. I'm looking at everything from the last eight hundred years of European Art and Zen Calligraphy'.
John Virtue is considered to be one of the the most distinguished painters working in the United Kingdom today. He is a Slade School of Art graduate where he studied under Euan Uglow and Frank Auerbach. His work is included in the collections of TATE, London, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Government Art Collection (UK), Arts Council of England and the Courtauld Institute. He has always painted in black and white.
His work has been deeply influenced not only by giants of the past, such as J M W Turner, John Constable and Samuel Palmer, but also by twentieth century greats, Franz Kline, Robert Ryman and Jackson Pollock. Japanese calligraphy also plays heavily into his oeuvre through his admiration of Ike no Taiga (Edo period) and Sengai Gibon (Rinzai School).
All works for sale - price range £360 - £6,000