Since 1999 Strutton’s practice has taken the form of drawing, painting, installation, video and performance. The work often uses the strategy of accrual to deal with a visual form of veneration and cultural reclamation and the resulting installations become a kind of makeshift memorial, an ex voto offering where nostalgia becomes a form of revenge. A preoccupation with ritualistic process, debased iconographies and compulsive aesthetics create a convoluted cosmos of effigies, mandalas, portraits and trophies, a graveyard whose architecture is sustained by anxiety. Sometimes brutal, often absurd, his approach to figuration is fractured, automatic and schizophrenic.
Decorations for a Lost Cause
Drawing on references such as 1950’s British municipal graphics, eastern scroll drawings and esoteric figurative traditions, this series of poster and wall hanging sized works on paper have been shown as part of banner like installations or more conventionally framed.
Initially used on the drum kit of Strutton’s band “Arthur brick” the ongoing collection of works entitled “Drumskins” use graphic and vernacular visual references to support a perverse and addictive form of rant/chant based sloganeering. Installed in large groups they create a matrix of visual indulgence and conflicting trajectories where symptom, rather than message, reigns supreme.
Morning Drawings/Anna Lies
Part of Strutton’s speculative studio practice is to spend the first hour of each morning making quick drawings purely to gather some momentum allowing the process itself to offer new possibilities which can be kept, thrown away or more recently stamped as “Anna Lies” (Strutton worked for years on factory production lines in which batches of assembled products would be sent back marked “QA: Rejected”. He marks these drawings for further consideration with a stamp announcing “QA: Passed Failed”).
Artist Bio / CV
John Strutton was born in 1966 and lives and works in London. He received an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art in 1998. In 1999 he formed the performance group “The Band of Nod” and from 2003 till 2008 he ran and co-directed, with the artist Alan Miller, the project space “39”. Since 2005 he has been writing and performing with the band “Arthur Brick”. He has recently exhibited in “Parkhaus” at Kunsthalle Dusseldorf and “Precious Things” at Highlanes Gallery, Drogheda, Ireland as well as performing with The Band of Nod at Camden Arts Centre, London, Reading Festival and Tate Britain, London.