After studying at the Margate School of Art, and a stint in the RAF, English-born John Blackburn ventured to New Zealand in the 1950s. By the time he returned to his native England in 1961 he was arguably the most radical painter working in Auckland, where he had exhibited at Auckland’s short-lived Circle Gallery.
Thanks to a generous local benefactor who saw his promise, Blackburn was able to cultivate his presence in a country that was more responsive to pure abstraction at that time, and his work became associated with the St. Ives school of artists.
Blackburn’s lyrical abstract paintings of simple, reduced strong forms in limited pure, unmixed colours are exhibited at the prestigious galleries Osborne Samuel in Mayfair, London and Lemon Street Gallery in Truro, Cornwall, England.
"The material dispositions of his paintings are surprising and intriguing. His mark-making generates an unexpected play of thoughts and emotions – the whole physical presence of Blackburn’s paintings is original and compelling. There is nothing polite here. There might be lumps in the canvas – folds or overlaps, different...