John McGill
mixed media, sculpture
I use metaphor – changing the familiar into something new. I search the rubbish tips of art history for abandoned ideas.
  • Tuition Given

As a Merseysider, my early years witnessed buildings scarred by bombs and a coastline eroded by the sea. After studying painting and ceramics at Wallasey, I studied sculpture at the Royal College of Art and then spent much of 1960 researching the Romanesque in France. In my early childhood, Lewis Carroll stimulated my fascination with transformations. Similarly, I have worked through symbols and metamorphosis to create a series of creatures and objects that are in the process of becoming something other. Bringing together disparate ideas and objects that can bond with a powerful charge and pre-cognition. At other times humour and puns take over and become visual. I work predominately in bronze combined with other materials. I lectured in the Sculpture Department at Loughborough for 24 years working in a wide range of media and processes: modelling, welding, carving and casting of aluminium and bronze in the foundry. After taking early retirement from lecturing, I moved to Cambridge 13 years ago to live and work in an 18th century timbered barn in Toft, sharing with my wife, the playwright, Tinch Minter. I had two one-man shows in the Alwyn Gallery (London) and continued exhibiting in mixed shows until they closed a few years ago. Recently I have shown at Art Space , Henley-on-Thames and, for the last 9 years, the Cambridge Open Studios. Recently I exhibited with Art of the Imagination in London and New York, where I won the Sculpture Prize. My commissioned work ranges from an octave of winged bells for Northern Ireland, organic crosses for churches and an Indian Haumuman shrine. I draw from life to sharpen my visual awareness and understanding of human forms and their articulation with each other. In drawing, I aim to give the illusion that the figure has solidity and exists in a three-dimensional space. Our means of understanding form are either by tactility - through the hand- which is not usually encouraged in life classes - or through light, which allows the eye comprehension as if stroking the forms in a tactile way. Unfortunately, light can be a great deceiver, so we have to use a sort of three-dimensional orienteering with an imposed logic to give density and unity to the whole.