Artist Statement

Paintings of Modern Life

My paintings reflect a deep interest in many aspects of contemporary life. They also draw upon centuries of artistic tradition.

Recent years have seen a resurgence of nationalist politics. Economic and cultural divisions, allied to the role of media, have led to unrest. Consumerism shows little sign of abating. Meanwhile arguments rage about climate change and environmental damage.

The picture is far from rosy.

My paintings are inventions, albeit based on observation. As a painter, there is a duality of purpose. On the one hand much of art has the ability to entice viewers with a sense of beauty. But great art also has the power to pose questions.

Hence I see my role as offering up a mirror to society. In doing so I offer no solutions other than awareness.

I studied fine art at Camberwell Art College, and I currently live and work in London.

Essays about my work can be found here.

Painter John McSweeney, Banbury Studios, London - 2019
John McSweeney, Banbury Studios, London – 2019

Selected Exhibitions

2021, #Shape of the New, Virtual Exhibition, opens March 12, tickets here
2021, ArtCan Open, TRANS|FORM, venue and date to be announced
2017, This England and Other Edens, Martyrs’ Gallery, Lewes (solo)
2015, Capturing the Spectacle: Paintings of Modern Life, Hop Gallery, Lewes (solo)
2014, John Moores Painting Prize 2104, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
1995, Woodlands Art Gallery, London
1994, Angela Flowers Gallery, London (solo)
1991, Wolfson College, Oxford
1991, Bruton Street Gallery, London
1989, Sandra Higgins Gallery, London (solo)
1989, Camden Art Centre, London (solo)
1984, Camberwell Printmakers, Intaglio Printmaker, London
1983, Stowells Trophy, Royal Academy of Arts, London


1984-85, Postgraduate Printmaking, Camberwell College of Art
1980-84, BA Fine Art Painting, Camberwell College of Art, London
1970-73, BSc Aeronautical Engineering, The City University London


2000-05 BSc Software Engineering, Open University
1991-94, BA Fine Art, Camberwell College (The London Institute)


2020 – ArtCan, an artist-led, non-profit arts organisation.