Born in Sheffield in 1940, John Middleton lives and breathes for his Art. He withdrew from publicly exhibiting in the early 1980s but has been in a state of constant creation since, producing works of great beauty, depth and integrity.
Middleton shunned the mundane day-to-day grind of reality over 40 years ago, releasing himself from the shackles of society to devote his life to painting. Predominantly working in watercolour and gouache, he creates abstract dreamscapes, proclaiming often-profound statements on the conscious and the spiritual.
There are echoes of Matisse, Picasso and Rothko, but this is a body of work that stands alone. Recently, Middleton created a series of drawings in homage to another of his heroes Egon Schiele, which will feature in forthcoming group exhibition Above the Clouds. His recent output positions him as an un-mined diamond, a hidden treasure about to be rediscovered. Middleton’s images are as accomplished as only the work of one who has dedicated his life to painting can be.
He expertly navigates the dividing line between the figurative and the abstract, yet because of his independent nature, it avoids being absolutely either whilst still sustained by their influence. Through his love of art, Middleton can journey in the present and in the past, and seek their values in his painting. He never dates his work because he does not measure time.
During the 1960s and 70s the artist’s work was exhibited in London at the Mayor Gallery and Nicholas Treadwell, and his paintings are held in various private collections in the UK, Europe and the US. Now settled in his studio in North Yorkshire, RedHouse Originals is privileged to offer selected paintings by the artist, and present a glimpse into an inspirational and captivating talent.
“I drew an envelope and its abstract contents. From that moment on I felt genetically and emotionally in touch with the cave painter; down in the dark, inaccessible recesses of the earth and the passage of art from his time to mine.”
Photograph courtesy of Natasha Rae Audsley via the artist.
Gillian Tarn meets reclusive Yorkshire artist John Middleton