John Gaunt

I have an empiricist approach to making. In recent years I have been developing a kind of “graphic scaffolding” inspired by weather and the shifting architecture of rivers. This scaffolding or intuitive gesture has become a malleable motif for me across artistic processes – allowing me to generate new combinations of abstract structures, illusionistic spaces and diagrammatic drawing. The accumulation of this practice is beginning to yield a kind of personal topology.

A painting serves as evidence of what you see. I am interested in a pictorial occasion where I can propose the idea of looking through, hovering behind and passing through the plane of the image. The immediately tangible perspective in the work is often aerial, positing the viewer downward to contemplate configurations of light, shifting picture planes, mark and edge. The paintings offer a familiar condition or vantage point; yet resist an easily identifiable event. This ‘instability’ is what I’m after – something more place able than nameable. The subjects lie just below the surface; as with metaphors they open a pathway to think about aspects of my life.

I work with an intuitive process, where chance and improvisation allow themes to emerge organically throughout the work. This demands a lot of doing, a lot of looking and the ability to leave the work before it is fully understood. It is hoped that the work functions more as a verb than a noun and that this action in the work is tough, elegant and contemplative.


John Gaunt has been active in university teaching since 1995. Educated in the United States and abroad, he maintains a studio practice in Minneapolis that embraces generative processes through painting, drawing and model building.

Building on a career that began as a realist painter, Gaunt has distilled his research into an abstract language that is at once gestural and restrained. Interested in the idea of painting and drawing serving as a proposition, the work offers closure yet resists naming – a desirable tension that occupies his current practice.

His work has been exhibited regionally and nationally and acquired in both public and private collections. He has held numerous visiting artist and guest lecturer positions including, the Burren College of Art in Ireland, the International Academy Neukloster Germany, School of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Kansas, Gustavus Adolphus College, Cazenovia College, University of Minnesota, Hamline University, and University of Wisconsin Stout.

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