"Signs of life" – New exhibition at Galeria Côrte-Real by John Lamonby

Recently opened at Galeria Côrte-Real a new exhibition of abstract paintings by acclaimed artist John Lamonby.
In 2012 the artist spent four months in and out of hospital in Truro, Cornwall and then the IPO hospital in Lisbon. Observing staff and patients he watched the spark between life and death, determination and humanity. His experience evolved into a series of emotional events expressed as brilliant paintings. They contain no hint of anything other than the will to live.
Beautifully displayed at Galeria Côrte-Real, it is an inspiring collection encapsulating John’s shifting emotions. He explains: “I allowed the work to develop, to come from itself as it were. To aim for the entity of the painting that warrants investigation by the viewer.”
Like many artists of the late 19th century John places more emphasis on visual sensations than the depiction of objects. James McNeill Whistler was one of the first to do this but his ‘new art’ received a mixed reception. John Ruskin, an influential art critic of the time, accused Whistler of “throwing a pot of paint in the public’s face”.
By the early decades of the 20th century Impressionism and Expressionism had gathered momentum and Ruskin’s views were by now outdated. Producing paintings with an emotional impact, abstract artists intend to create a reaction to a particular event. John’s new work falls exactly into this category. Unlike previous paintings – inspired by the Algarve’s Ria Formosa – the new series contains no recognisable forms.
John’s long career began in the wild and glorious landscapes of Northumberland where he lived and trained as an artist. Producing realistic depictions of the countryside, his paintings gradually moved from representational pictures to more powerful impressions. Traveling widely, looking at the history of art across many cultures, he has an intellectual interest in meaning and intention. What was in the artist’s mind?
“For me,” he says, “painting is related to how I feel. Changing thoughts and emotions, moments of recollection and imagination, so that painting is a process and the images evolve. I give myself total freedom to interact with the painting. There is no restraint or preconceived formula and because there are no limitations I can be spontaneous and react to the unexpected.”
Appealing to art collectors across the globe, John has been a member of ‘Blank Canvas’ and his paintings have been exhibited widely, including London’s Mall Galleries, champions of new contemporary art by living artists.
Additionally examples of John’s paintings can be seen at the new Pop-Up Galeria Côrte-Real in Carvoeiro, opening on Friday, September 19 with a party to celebrate the first anniversary of the estate agents ‘Fine and Country’.
For further information contact ‘Fine and Country’ in Carvoeiro’s Rua do Barranco – 282 354 140.
Galeria Côrte-Real is signposted from Boliqueime, Ferreiras and Paderne. Open Thursday to Sunday, 11am until 5pm – 912 737 762.
By Carolyn Kain
Photo: Painting from the series ‘Signs of Life’ by John Lamonby, part of a new exhibition at Galeria Côrte-Real in Paderne.