Strange Love

Strange Love: Tom Banks | John Brennan | Kirsty Harris

Three artists explore the beauty of fear and the unknown.
Curated by Dr. Daniel Barnes.

Negotiating the lines between ambiguous narratives and the spectacle of the decisive moment, Strange Love explores the contemporary notion of fear as a site of inspiration. The exhibition draws together three artists who interrogate and re-examine beauty as a response to this fear. At the core of this project is the romantic notion that beauty, in and of itself, is a source of great consolation.

Bankley Gallery, September 2018
Private view: Friday 7th September
Open 12–4pm, Saturday & Sunday, 8th–16th September

Bankley Street, Levenshulme, Manchester, M19 3PP

China exhibition tour: Contemporary Masters from Britain

The Trouble with You,  John Brennan,   2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 x 4 cm

The Trouble with You, John Brennan, 2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 x 4 cm

The Trouble with You forms part of 'Contemporary Masters from Britain: 80 British Painters of the 21st Century'. From 7th July to 30th December 2017, this group show of 80 Contemporary British Paintings will go on display in 4 Chinese art museums for the very first time.

China venues: Yantai Art Museum, Artall Gallery, Nanjing, Jiangsu Art Gallery, Nanjing and the Tianjin Academy of Fine Art

Read more about the show on a-n News. Catalogue available on Amazon.

Many thanks to Robert Priseman and the Contemporary British Painting team for all their hard work in organising, curating and shipping the show.

Grange Tower Bridge Hotel

I'm showing several works in a semi-permanent exhibition in the restaurant of the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel, London, E1 8GP. Many thanks to William Henry of Plastic Propaganda for organising this one.

Acquisition by Huddersfield Art Gallery Permanent Collection

The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016, Huddersfield Art Gallery

The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016, Huddersfield Art Gallery

I'm delighted to announce that The War Room has been acquired by Huddersfield Art Gallery permanent collection. This is my first public acquisition and follows on from the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016 exhibition (see catalogue), which was held recently at the gallery. Many thanks and appreciation go to Grant Scanlan, Senior Curator at Kirklees Council.

Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016 - Private View

PV: Saturday 10th September 2016. Exhibition: runs until 22nd October.
NOTE: PV and prize announcement is at 11am in the morning.
The Riverside Gallery, Old Town Hall, Whittaker Avenue, Richmond, London, TW9 1TP

I'm a finalist in the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016 with my painting, The War Room. Please RSVP if you'd like to attend the private view. Read more about the prize.

Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016 - Finalist

The War Room - John Brennan, 2015, oil on canvas, 90 x 130 x 4 cm

I'm excited to discover that I'm one of fifteen finalists in the Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016 with The War Room.

I'm in good company, the quality of the other artists, the selectors and the judges for this prize is impressive. Congratulations to everyone and many thanks of course to the panellists.

“Painters! I know you feel the pride, romance and difficulty of that self-description. The great painting – elusive, impossible record of human touch – remains the dream and summit of the visual arts today just as it has always done. Extravagant? Maybe, but I mean it.”

Christopher Le Brun, President, Royal Academy

“Although only in its first year, the Contemporary British Painting prize has drawn 631 entries of outstanding quality from both emerging and well-known artists and has set a benchmark for the nation.”

Anna McNay, Art writer, London

There are two finalists exhibitions:

  • The Riverside Gallery, Richmond Museum, London 10 September – 22 October 2016
  • Huddersfield Art Gallery 5 November – 28 January 2017

The finalists:

Louis Appleby | David Auborn | Aglaé Bassens | Karl Bielik | Katrina Blannin | John Brennan | Lindsey Bull | Nick Carrick | Dan Coombs | Gordon Dalton | Marielle Hehir | Cathy Lomax | Kate Lyddon | Mandy Payne | Paul Smith

View the catalogue

Read more about the prize...

Photos from Dis locate exhibition - Oxford

We had an amazing turnout, apparently around 300 visitors over the course of the evening, for the private view of Dis locate at the VW Showroom, Oxford. The show consisted of a selection of work from Magdalen Road Studios artists. Curator, Luis Aruajo, did a fantastic job in bringing a coherent vision to a diverse selection of work. This is a mix of install shots and shots from the private view.

Jackson's Open Art Prize 2016 - Shortlisted

Invocation  - John Brennan, 2016, oil on canvas, 100 x 100 x 4 cm

Invocation - John Brennan, 2016, oil on canvas, 100 x 100 x 4 cm

Excited to discover that my painting, Invocation, has been shortlisted for the Jackson's Open Art Prize 2016. Many thanks to the selectors, now to the judging! More about the prize from the organisers:

The Jackson’s Open Art Prize had a huge response with 3100 artists submitting their drawings, paintings and prints.  After much deliberation the Jackson’s panel selected 410 for a long-list of really excellent work that was announced 15th April.  As the next step of the selection process our panel of six expert judges have now chosen their favourites from that list creating a short-list of 54 artworks that are shown below. Congratulations to all the artists whose work was selected for the short-list! They have been emailed with the good news.

The judges are: painter and gallery director Carlos de Lins, artist and head printmaking tutor Hillary Daltry, painter and tutor Hugo Grenville, artist and freelance journalist James Hobbs, artist and winner of the BBC Big Painting Challenge Paul Bell, and artist and curator Sarah Sparkes.  You can read more about the judges in their earlier interviews on the Jackson’s blog.

Bad Art - Exhibition - London

The War Room  - John Brennan, 2015, oil on canvas, 90 x 130 x 4 cm

The War Room - John Brennan, 2015, oil on canvas, 90 x 130 x 4 cm


Bad Art exhibition 13-15th May 2016
Private view is open to the public and there's a bar too!
13th May 6-11pm - Bones & Pearl Studios, 60-68 Markfield Road, London, N15 4QA.
See map and Facebook event page.


Many thanks to curator, Anna Choutova for inviting me to show several pieces including, The War Room. More about the show:

“My five year old could have done that”

What is Bad Art? What separates the scribblings of a 5-year-old child from a masterpiece by Cy
Twombly or Jackson Pollock? In a world where a blank canvas can sell for $15million, who
decides whether artwork is genius or a disaster?

A group of established and emerging artists have come together to showcase works that
discuss this very question. BAD ART is a celebration of all things deemed unsuitable in the
world of high art but also to your average viewer. The exhibition aims to question why certain
art is ‘bad’ while other art hangs gloriously in the National Gallery, or why one person’s pretty
seascape is to another the epitome of kitsch.

The show will feature a carefully curated selection of works from established artists and
emerging artists. With a mixture of painting, drawing, video and sculpture, these artists aim to
challenge traditional expectations of subject, technique or seriousness in contemporary art.

'Both Ends of Madness' - Exhibition and symposium, APT Gallery, London

'Both Ends of Madness' is my first show with Plastic Propaganda at APT Gallery, Deptford, London.

Some parking outside, nearest overland stations Greenwich or Deptford. View map.

  • Exhibition 7-24 April 2016
  • Private View 7th April, 6-8pm
  • Symposium 14th April, 6-8pm

"Throughout the History of Art, madness has been a recurring subject matter.

This exhibition intends to explore both ends of madness, whether it is the artist who makes work that is indeed a struggle to achieve because the search for the impossible artefact is being explored, or it is about how art can be used as a therapy and explanation of why circumstances have happened, for example, how a nervous breakdown or an addiction can lead to a fulfilling art work."

"A Public symposium is being held on Thursday 14th April to discuss some of the issues raised in the exhibition. The Symposium will be chaired by Angus Pryor, Reader in Fine Art, University of Gloucestershire. Artist and co-founder of Plastic Propaganda, the panellists will include:-

  • Professor Janet Sayers - Emeritus Professor of Psychoanalytic Psychology at University of Kent
  • Dr Grant Pooke - Author, Historian - Lecturer at University of Kent
  • Tony Gammidge - Artist, film maker, art therapist, lecturer and Arts and Health worker."

Find out more about the show.


Plastic Propaganda - Artists collective

Plastic Propaganda exhibition, 125 Old Broad Street, London. Artist: Angus Pryor

Plastic Propaganda exhibition, 125 Old Broad Street, London. Artist: Angus Pryor

Plastic Propaganda logo

I'm pleased to announce that I've accepted an offer from William Henry and Angus Pryor (Head of Art and Design, University of Gloucestershire) to collaborate in the Plastic Propaganda artists collective.

I like their ethos and was impressed by their track record - Plastic Propaganda have exhibited in some major public venues such as Canary Wharf and The Baltic Exchange, London and at the World Trade Center, Amsterdam.

Look out for the next show, 'Both Ends of Madness', APT Gallery, London 7-24 April 2016.

What is Plastic Propaganda?

"Plastic Propaganda is the plastic and theoretical process of making and authoring, regardless of medium.

It is the umbrella term which we have given to the re-exploration of Modernism within contemporary Fine Art practice and ideas relating to the Post-Conceptual.

We are seeking to initiate new platforms for making, writing and exhibiting contemporary practice.

We wish to develop a supportive and distinctive ethos which will contribute towards inclusive approaches to Fine Art education and towards trends within research as practice."

'Meet the Artists' - Popup art show, 25th Feb, 6-9.30pm

Meet the Artists on Facebook

Meet the Artists on Facebook

The Trouble with You , John Brennan, 2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 x 4 cm

The Trouble with You, John Brennan, 2015, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 x 4 cm

Meet The Artists, Gorsuch St, Hoxton, London, E2 8HD, Thursday 25th February, 6 -9:30pm. See Facebook page for full details

I've been invited to show three of my smaller paintings and briefly talk about my work at this one-night-only event.

More info from the event team follows:

What's happening

Meet the Artists is a pop-up art gallery, created by artists, selling high quality & original artwork at affordable prices. A special evening of artist talks, live music & complimentary drinks.

London's leading emerging artists, showcasing original artwork. They will be sharing their experiences through short talks and available to meet in a relaxed environment.

Featured artists include Dan Feit, Carolina Maggio, Athena Anastasiou, Kingsley Nebechi, Chiho Iwase, Solaris100, John Brennan, Anna Rootes, Maggie Williams, Steve Norris, Fiona Masterton, Laura Coates & Sarah Briggs.

The evening's schedule

Artist Talks 7–7:40pm
Live performance by weissenborn guitarist Tj Owusu

What we stand for

  • Supporting the community of emerging artists in London.
  • Making art more accessible and available to everyone.
  • Transforming the gallery into an engaging & interactive space.
  • Original & quality art for affordable prices

Why come by?

Are you looking for unique art at affordable prices? Connect with emerging artists and start building your own art collection.

Athena Anastasiou
Artist Liaison


Artrooms 2016 - Begins 22nd January

Artrooms 2016, 22nd - 25th January, Melia White House, London. Private view 5.30 - 8pm 22nd January. See details and location info.

Unlike most art fairs that require fees from exhibitors, this year Artrooms has opened its doors to feature international independent artists selected by jury. The panellists include Alastair Smart, chief art critic of the Sunday Telegraph. 

To quote the blurb: "Held over 4 days, ‘ARTROOMS’ fills an entire floor of the Meliá White House with 70 up-and-coming artists who will exhibit their talent to leading buyers, agents & journalists, all for free. This is one of London’s most unmissable art events".

The private view is invite only. Contact me for complimentary invites, or if you'd like tickets for the other days.

@ArtRoomsLondon, #ArtRooms2016


Finalist - Bankley Open Call 2015

Experiments in Movement: Part 1 - John Brennan, 2014, oil on canvas, 100 x 100 x 4 cm

This is Reality - John Brennan, 2013, oil on canvas, 80 x 80 x 4 cm

Following on from its scoop of the ArtGemini Prize recently and selection as a finalist in Arte Laguna Prize earlier this year, 'Experiments in Movement: Part 1' has now been selected as a finalist in Bankley Open Call 2015.

Many thanks to the selection panel. I last showed at Bankley Open in 2013 with 'This is Reality'.

Private view and awards ceremony

9th October 2015, time TBC. See website for details: Bankley Studios, Manchester.

Exhibition continues 17th & 18th and 24th & 25th October 2015 12 - 4pm

1st Prize - ArtGemini Prize 2015

Experiments in Movement: Part 1 - John Brennan, 2014, oil on canvas, 100 x 100 x 4 cm

Excited to discover I've been awarded 1st prize in ArtGemini Prize 2015 (painting & sculpture) with 'Experiments in Movement: Part 1'. The painting was previously selected as a finalist in Arte Laguna Prize 2015.

Appreciation and thanks to the selection panel, organisers and to founder, Jimmy Lek.

The show continues at the Menier Gallery, London till Saturday 26th September 2015.