King, John

John King is a Winnipeg-based abstract artist.  King was born in Vancouver, B.C., in 1949 and has lived most of his life in western Canada. In 1971 he completed a BFA degree in sculpture from the University of Manitoba and later worked in Winnipeg as a public-school art teacher. King moved to Edmonton in 1974 to develop his interest in abstract painting. In the following seventeen years, he completed a Master’s degree in painting at the University of Alberta, participated in two Artist’s Workshops at Emma Lake, Saskatchewan and worked as an art educator at the Edmonton Art Gallery. In 1991, King returned to Winnipeg where he continues to maintain an active studio. King’s paintings have been included in solo and group exhibitions in western Canada and his works are in various private and public collections.

“My 2018 paintings were inspired after I revived several of my interests from the 1970s: (1) Notan, a Japanese design concept involving the balance of light and dark shapes; (2) paintings with visually ambiguous images that encourage us to perceive a shape in two ways — as part of the background of the painting and also as a shape that sits in front of the background; and (3) the paintings of Joan Miro (Spanish painter, 1893-1983). The first art book I owned was about Miro. Forty-five years later I’m still inspired by his words: “When I stand in front of a canvas, I never know what I’m going to do – and nobody is more surprised than I am at what comes out. … Little by little, I’ve reached the stage of using only a small number of forms and colors. It’s not the first time that painting has been done with a very narrow range of colors… I always feel the need to achieve the maximum of intensity with the minimum of means.”  John King