Devoid of color, the rich impasto surfaces of John Stockwell’s paintings could easily stand alone as magnetic and engaging. The addition of hue only takes them to a new level of magnificence.
Using his hands and fingertips to paint, artist John Stockwell creates an unbelievable surface on his canvases that continually arrests his viewers. Stockwell, largely a landscape painter, creates panoramas with a rich array of peaks, clusters, mounds, troughs, and ridges in thick paint. Reminiscent of the vivid work of Vincent van Gogh, Stockwell’s images emit life, exuberance, and energy from the surface and via his brilliant use of color.

John Stockwell, “The Bend in the Bay,” 2015, oil on canvas, 36 x 51 in. (c) Arden Gallery 2015

Stockwell’s newest works feature in a solo exhibition at the Arden Gallery in Boston, Massachusetts.

John Stockwell, “Glaze,” 2015, oil on canvas, 40 x 65 in. (c) Arden Gallery 2015

Large in scale, Stockwell’s paintings often show deep, expansive views with fields of flowers in a patterned arrangement of luminous yellows, crimsons, whites, and cobalts. The gallery writes, “John Stockwell lives in Sweden with his wife and two children. He draws inspiration from the lush fields of flowers, scenic lakes, and plowed farm fields just outside his windows.”
Continuing, the gallery offers, “Stockwell’s dynamic creations are at once tempestuous and still. Skies smattered with soft wisps of white cause the viewer to pause momentarily amidst luminous azure distances, while picturesque indigo and sapphire expanses are threatened by hints of rolling gray storm clouds. The works reflect on the omnipotent beauty of time spent with a nature untouched by human presence. John Stockwell’s paintings offer a precious gift, a divine reminder of what is most pure, magnetic, and real about the enchanted world in which we live.”

John Stockwell, “Red One,” 2015, oil on canvas, 40 x 65 in. (c) Arden Gallery 2015

Stockwell’s “Red Rest” is absolutely stunning and powerful. It is in a large vertical format, and the viewer stands amid a plowed field of red flowers. A dark horizontal band of silhouetted trees separates the flowers from an expansive landscape at distance. In fact, most of the canvas has been given to the soft sky above, which displays large wisps of clouds angling toward the left edge. While details of individual forms are scarce, the power lies in Stockwell’s color and surface, which create a captivating visual pattern. There exists in this work a lovely juxtaposition between the thickly applied reds of the flowers and the smoothed texture of the sky. The effect is to enhance our perception of the visual textures.
“John Stockwell: New Works” opened on November 3 and will be on view through November 28.
To learn more, visit the Arden Gallery.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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