October 28 - November 20, 2016
Main, Helena Davis, Frable and smallspace Galleries
On Saturday, November 19, artspace will host an International Suicide Survivor Day event 11:00 am - 2:30 pm. Free and Open to the Public
Closing Artist Talk
John Kincheloe plays Native American Flute
Sunday, November 20, 2016
Free and Open to the Public
Three years ago I had to stop reading Van Gogh the Life by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. The parallels to my son John's life were too painfully real. I had been John's art teacher for three years at Midlothian High School. It wasn't until he was in college that the signs of his mental illness began to show. His cycling from manic to depressive states started the beginning of his sophomore year at VCU in 2004. As his life unraveled, creating art was his constant. John embraced the "10,000 hour rule of process" because it gave him a purpose. After his death last December, I walked out to the studio we shared and observed the paintings he had carefully selected and hung on the walls of his studio as a final statement. Together they tell a story that needs to be shared.
I have cataloged 435 of John's completed paintings and drawings, and that much again was in various states of progress. The work reveals both the skilled and passionate artist and the struggle that came to overwhelm him. Through this astonishing outpouring of creativity, John Terrell shares with all of us his story. A goal of this show is to raise awareness of the tragic effects of mental illness in all of its many variations. I look forward to hosting International Suicide Survivor Day at Artspace November 19th and to giving the artist talk at the end of the show at 2:00 p.m., November 20th.
John layered pigment of various media on paper, panel, and canvas to express his relationship with people, places, and things. He communicated in those visual nouns a passion to use color in vigorous patterns that reveal their form. His art was two dimensional, but his placement of spectral color against color made them pop from the surface. This is particularly evident with his "Skull" paintings. White bone was interpreted in patterns of color that brought life to objects found on his countless walks in the woods. His landscapes were direct and calm as if he felt a connection to them that gave him peace. He could lose himself for hours in the variegated texture of trees.
"My job as an artist is to express feeling within a pattern, large or small."
— John Terrell
John's drawings articulated mark making that explored line and color with an imaginative narrative. He loved books about history and adventures which had him pouring over illustrations and creating his own. His self-portraits are personal statements revealing the intensity of the manic – depression he wrestled with. Working in the studio or woods behind it for hours daily was where John had a place with purpose. There was no formula planned from sketchbooks, size or system of direction. John just had a desire to draw or make the next painting which often meant painting over existing work or a discarded piece of mat board. He liked the way acrylic dried quickly so he could express his ideas rapidly. Oil paint, markers, charcoal, and pencils were also utilized for their immediacy. His journey was passionate and too short. Wherever he was at the moment there was an intensity and focused vision that John was compelled to illuminate. Enter into the patterns, feel the colors and experience the passion.
Proceeds from this show will benefit the following nonprofits which are serving our community:
NAMI Central VA, www.namicentralvirginia.org,
Full Circle Grief Center, fullcirclec.org, and the
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Virginia, afsp.org.
Thanks to Worth Higgins & Associates for donating prints of John's work to benefit these local institutions.
Artspace will host International Suicide Survivor Day, www.survivorday.org, Saturday, November 19th, from 11:00 am - 2:30 pm.
— Paul Terrell