work by John McDonald

Angels, Sluts & Artists

Angels, Sluts & Artists is an ambitious installation of large paintings by artist John McDonald, intended to establish a journey for the viewer.  Following from the success of John’s solo exhibition Butterfly Cry, John is creating an experience that is more embracing than a purely ‘wall-hung’ exhibition; it is a study of human nature, from our capacity for love and compassion, to our flaws and weaknesses; how beautiful and how stupid this life is.  

The exhibition will demonstrate John’s journey to create a double-series of 26 paintings, including 13 portraits of Frida Kahlo.  The other 13 are John’s own versions of Salvador Dali’s Christ of St John of the Cross, and include other characters such as unsung local heroes, to some quite well known faces.

One is a portrait of a mother and child in the Gorbals district of Glasgow published in 1948, as part of an article exploring slum poverty.  John comments: “I’m painting a large portrait of the mother only, but as part of the process of doing so, I am going to work with the general public and the media to try and locate the family of this woman; I would love to be able to connect the work with her story.  The child in the image might be in their late 60s and may still live in Scotland.”

The second piece is a highly unusual group portrait of up to 13 women, which will be controversial, and is extremely topical in the social climate of #metoo, and especially the prevalence of enquiry into historic sexual abuse. It connects also with the patriarchal history of art and questions the use of the female body within the religious paintings of ‘Old Masters’.  

John comments: “The work is also a question or commentary on the roots of Western Art in religious works.  I am attempting to question, and turn on its head, the exploitation of women in religious art for the satisfaction of male sexuality.”
The human conditions explored by these works include disability, neonatal death, divorce, urban poverty, sexism and gender inequality, as well as an exploration of human emotions from rage to delight. 

Join John for the opening of his exhibition on Friday, 9 August from 7-9.30pm.  The exhibition is open to the public week days 10am-3pm.

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