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ABOUT


John Brendan Guinan is an American contemporary artist. He was born at home in the Logan Circle neighborhood of inner city Washington, D.C. above the homeless shelter and soup kitchen founded and run by his parents. His father, a former Catholic Priest and well known activist, author, and lecturer, J. Edward Guinan (dec. 2015), was a stalwart in the social justice movement and founder of Community for Creative Non-violence. The untrained artist's first show was a solo in New York at Artery Gallery in honor of his father, titled "The Art of Mourning". Guinan's mixed media paintings are densely layered with granular rocks, fluorescent paint, pigment and glitter. His oeuvre is inspired by a lifelong bout with depersonalization/derealization disorder, as well as elements of Catholic mysticism rooted in his upbringing. In the words of artist Barnett Newman, "Instead of making cathedrals out of Christ, man, or "life," we are making [them] out of ourselves, out of our own feelings." Guinan has been called an "artist priest" and a "conduit for the transcendent". In his own words, "Artists are the agents of the heavens. Our job is to do the bidding of the immaterial”. The artist has exhibited in solos and group shows in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami at Art Basel. His work has been auctioned off at Sotheby's in NYC, alongside pieces by Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Yoko Ono, Mark Grotjahn, Shepard Fairey, and Urs Fischer among others. Academy Award Winning Fine Films Company is currently shooting a documentary on his story and art career called ‘Why I Paint’.

American, b. 1981, Washington, D.C.  

ARTIST STATEMENT

"It's like a movie, I thought, like a fucking movie. It seemed funny to me.  It felt as if we were on camera." - Charles Bukowski

My limbs and head feel disconnected from my body. My eyes function as if they were a DSLR camera perched on a dolly. My surroundings appear to me in vividly saturated technicolor; the greenest of green grass, the bluest of blue skies, the pinkest of pink sunsets. My past experiences with my environment slip away from my grasp. Context and familiarity disappears. It’s as if I were a new born, with a fully developed adult consciousness, bearing witness to planet earth and humans for the first time. My visual vocabulary dissipates in an instant and I am left to make sense of it all as if fresh out of the womb. My art depicts the visceral, overwhelming, dream-like, and many times transcendent nature of depersonalization/derealization; disorienting and enveloping viewers with data through sculptural relief built up with densely layered rock debris and saturated/formless color fields comprised of pigment, glitter, and fluorescent paint. In the end, my goal is to create beauty from the wreckage of suffering, and to give a little hope to humanity; 

"Ruins, for me, are the beginning. With the debris, you can construct new ideas. They are symbols of a beginning." - Anselm Kiefer