John Worth

Abstract Painter, Photographer

With studios in both Chiddingfold and Lewes, John Worth is an abstract painter and photographer inspired by the vibration, rhythms and musicality inherent in nature, places and urban environments. He studied Photography at West Surrey College of Art & Design, 1989-92 (now the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham). John's current body of work takes inspiration from the practice of daily walks in the South Downs he uses to underpin his artistic interrogations. By repeating the same journeys, taking photographs as he goes, he develops intimate connections with particular landscapes. The results are paintings, sketches and photographs that pay homage to the synergies of the rhythms he discovers in the contours of the landscape combined with the abstract qualities of the textures, light and shadow as they change through the seasons. Both walking and in the studio, music is important to his creative process; abstract paintings blend the sense of musicality he feels in the landscape itself with the landscape of his own heart and mind. A habit of producing daily sketches enables an immediate translation of his visceral experiences; a way of responding to the energies in the landscape; an occasion to witness the rhythmic and chaotic narrative of nature as it changes. ​ John’s influences include painters such as Cy Twombly, Antoni Tàpies and Paul Klee and his work speaks to the tradition of lyrical abstraction. The paintings have a stillness suggestive of surfaces aged by the passage of time. He builds these surfaces using his own techniques that include layering strips of linen or canvas and overlaying in mixed media, scratching and sanding back multiple times, resulting in a patina that suggests both the action of time and multiple stories interacting. Some pieces are based on the five lines of a musical stave, suggesting the two experiences of music and land superimposed upon each other, generating unique sets of rhythms and vibrations. A preoccupation with traces, fragments, exposure and erasure all work to pose a question about identity. As a way of countering the over-saturation of our lives with screen-based images, John is increasingly concerned with the finished painting as a physical and tactile artefact. Many of his pieces invite touch, recalling the visceral inspiration of their beginnings, and some are finished with a wax varnish to enable this type of engagement.