John Brendan Guinan is an American Contemporary Artist. His large scale mixed media paintings incorporate elements of emotive color fields and sculptural reliefs comprised of non-traditional materials ranging from; tar, sand, moss, flowers, found rocks, glitter, polyurethane, epoxy, to more classical mediums. His body of work references a broad set of themes including; religious sacraments, poetry, myth, philosophy and childhood memories. He utilizes an intuitive and unorthodox set of processes and techniques in his studio practice including; crude block printing, etching, squeegee, pouring, as well as found object and hand painting. His primary influences are neo-expressionsts and color field painters the likes of Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter and Sam Gilliam. His goal is to create sublime and enveloping art that emotionally and spiritually disrupts viewers. In the words of color field 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". Guinan 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 New York. Academy Award Winning Fine Films Company is currently shooting a documentary on his art career.
John Brendan Guinan, contemporary mixed media artist, 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. Mother Teresa served the first bowl of soup at the kitchen's opening. John's father and hero, former Catholic priest, activist and author, John Edward Guinan "Ed" passed away in December of 2014. The Washington Post memorialized Ed by saying, “Throughout his life, [Guinan] earned a place on the Catholic left defined by the pacifism of Dorothy Day, the civil disobedience of Daniel and Philip Berrigan and the faith-driven calls of former Peace Corps director Sargent Shriver to replace peace through strength with strength through peace".
Guinan's solo exhibition, The Art of Mourning, which debuted in August of 2015 at the Artery Gallery in New York, was comprised of large scale mixed media pieces grieving his father’s passing. Each piece was painted while his father was sick, in hospice or recently passed. In a recent article on NPR, Guinan is quoted as saying, "My hands, brushes, paint, and pallet knives served as conduits for my emotions: joy, despair, gratitude, transformation, grace and other undefinable inklings of subconscious. Through great pain this art came out of me. It simply had to". Guinan exhibited at Art Basel Miami's Satellite fair in 2016 curated by Black Paper based out of Los Angeles. The show touted as "Rough Ride" investigated the role of abstract expressionist paintings as ephemera and not commoditized art prizes. His series was from a greater body of work called the "Prince of Empyrean". Each of the pieces was painted from the vantage point of a prince (John's father Ed) living in Empyrean and what he might be seeing. Guinan's painting, "Tenleytown Zebra Map', was auctioned off at Sotheby's in NYC in February of 2017, alongside pieces by Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Mark Grotjahn, Urs Fischer, Jorge Pardo, Yoko Ono and Shepard Fairey among others. The Academy Award winning Fine Films Company, creators of HBO’s “Life According To Sam”, “War Dance” and “Inocente,” are currently shooting a documentary on John Brendan Guinan and his art career.
Guinan, having developed outside of the conventional academy system, has an unorthodox and monumental style that has garnered attention internationally from galleries and collectors alike. In the words of one member of a top auction house in New York, "John is a case of an artist being born and destined for feats unreached by most. His work is museum caliber and fearlessly tenacious and intuitive."
American, b. 1981, Washington, D.C.
I believe that art should serve as a conduit to the spiritual. Furthermore, I believe that the role of the artist is to remind humanity of a complex beauty that underlies these cynical times of political uncertainty, injustice, and divisiveness. My goal is to use symbols, artifacts, found objects, sculptural forms and emotive colors to influence the emotional and spiritual paradigms of viewers. "As artists, we have a great privilege in that we have been afforded the time to be contemplative and investigative of our deeper spiritual selves. Through becoming deeply intimate with ourselves, and using our our artistic practice as a vehicle, we are able to hold up a mirror to viewers. I find it necessary to use my art as a channel to remind viewers of what it means to be human. I hope that my work, as Jackson Pollack says - confronts you."