Artist Statement

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My name is John Faherty I am figurative Painter. I live in work in Philadelphia.


In my studio work I am dealing with figures as if actors populating a virtual stage play. I use Mythological and Symbolic imagery to portray action and describe a sense of place in my paintings.


I am drawn to Oil Paint by its translucent qualities and color richness. It has the ability to mimic the full spectrum of light like no other medium short of photography. I am also drawn to the liquid mediums of water color and ink for its tendencies for fluidity. I always do a fair amount of preparation work, often consisting of ink and or watercolor. There was always fluidity to the brushwork that gave the medium immediacy and directness that was often lost in the translation from prep work to finished oil painting.  In these  paintings, work has progressed from line drawing to form, depth and texture by the  modulation of color relationships throughout the image. This tends to flatten out the image, often requiring me to rework areas to include new elements.

More recently, I have endeavored to reconcile this by experimenting with the painting medium. I do this by using ever-thinner washes of color. In this way the medium behaves similarly to watercolor in appearance, but with the benefit of not drying quickly, allowing that while I rework the image the surface remains fresh and uniform throughout.  The medium becomes progressively less dilute with each successive layer.  As a result, it allows me to create a vibrant surface where I haven’t sacrificed detail or intent.

The subject matter of my work has always been the figure in the landscape. The elements of my imagery are drawn from many sources. The Neo- Classical painters  such as Delacroix, Watteau and Ingres are potent influences in my work. Their use of classical mythology and its symbolism served as a wellspring that was to be the precursor to much of modern figure painting. The artists of the early Italian renascence  in particular, Giotto with his bold and direct use of color and narrative elements .Some more modern examples, artists like Matisse, Manet, Cezanne, Whistler, and James Ensore, each through their unique vision were able to push formal concerns of the surface as an element unto itself, while creating powerful figurative imagery. Other influences would be the so-called “primitive” artists around the world and the transfiguring, mythological symbols of animistic cultures.

I feel my work is an amalgam of my influences and my experiences. Using these same kinds of mythological elements, and symbolic imagery I have created my own personal visual language.  This language allows my figures to be as actors in a narrative dialogue between the viewer and myself.