John Lancaster

Sacred Interiors #5 No1
© 2018 John Lancaster

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Artistic invention of sacred and religious themes in Painting, Sculpture and Architecture have been a constant influence in my own paintings and drawings since 1986. In 1997 this interest broadened to include Islamic and (more recently) Japanese sacred influences alongside the strong Western cultural influences particularly of Baroque and Medieval Art.

The series titled Sacred Interiors was initially inspired by a visit to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain. The Islamic design with its emphasis on elaborate decoration, symmetry, inventive use of interior and exterior space, the importance of geometry, and the creative use of water in all of its forms, have all helped to inform my work.

Series 4 - the most recent series of paintings and drawings has evolved yet again moving from the busy 'Islamic' inspired work to a more quieter and minimal expression informed through the writings and philosophical interests of Zen Buddhism. In particular the Zen Gardens and Temples of Kyoto.


Most of my work uses traditional art materials. Oil on canvas (paintings) and condensed charcoal on paper (drawings). In the Sacred Interiors series (1997-00), 1 -3, I introduced stencils and spray paint into the work both on paper and canvas. The spray paint was a commercially produced acrylic paint, and the stencils I designed and made. This method relied on layering and multipling the design, creating a busy composition resulting in a complex spatial construction.

Series 4, from 2000 onwards, the materials have returned to oil on canves, and charcoal on paper, to develop a set of paintings mainly large scale 160 x 320cm (largest so far) and are constructed with a small regulated brush mark and a subtly changing closely controlled palette. There is a concentration of gold, gold/silver, pigment used in these compositions which creates a reflective, constantly shifting surface in relation to the lighting conditions in which the paintings are exhibited.


Geometry, location, mapping, Islamic Design and Architecture, deconstruction


My interest in the artistic invention of sacred and religious themes began in a serious manner in 1986 during my studies as a painting scholar at the British School at Rome. The two years in the studio, combined with the contact with fellow artists, architects, archaeologists, scholars and historians in the school created a deeper understanding of the relationship between my work and Western art, and to the world. The work during this time focused upon Baroque Art as a primary influence. In 1997, after a brief visit to Granada and Seville, I discovered the beautiful Alhambra Palace. The Moorish Palace greatly impressed me and helped to broaden my interest to encompass wider cultural references.

In June 2003 I exhibited in Kyoto, Japan, spending six weeks as an Artist in Residence at a University in Japan. The residency allowed me to research and experience the Sacred Gardens and Temples of Kyoto, in preparation to develop my continuing interest in this area. In September 2005, I will be exhibiting in Australia.
Studios of John Lancaster

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