John Bartlett was born in London in 1960. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools from 1991-4. On leaving Art School he supported his Art Practice working at the National Gallery, London. In 2013 he relocated to Folkestone, Kent with his partner and young son and has devoted his energies full-time to Art Projects since then.
He is best known to date for his monumental work ‘History Painting’ which now forms an integral part of the Museum of London’s permanent collection. This contentious work has received a great deal of media coverage in Britain over the years primarily because it depicts the 1990 Poll tax Riots in Trafalgar Square. In 2010 it was reproduced as 9 x 18ft posters on the London Underground as part of a promotional campaign for the MOL.
Other career highlights include a commission for Heathrow Airport and large-scale acquisitions made by the Guildhall Art Gallery and the V&A Museum of Childhood. He also has a selection of his drawings in the collection of the Royal Academy of Arts and these were included in their survey of 20th Century Works in the exhibition ‘Driven to Draw’.
In 2012-13 the Guildhall Art Gallery held a mid-career retrospective of his work featuring over fifty of his paintings and drawings in an exhibition entitled ‘London Sublime’. It brought together for the first time all of his major compositions to which he added a temporal twenty-five-foot wall drawing/installation that he created in situ especially for the show enforcing how important drawing is to his creative process.
His recent work is drawing-driven and takes its inspiration from a sense of place depicting forms within the space they inhabit. Rooms are haunted by traces of human presence and previous activity. Oscillating between abstraction and representation he employs a range of styles to build up layers of memory and time passed. Large-scale paintings of interiors are complemented with still life compositions where he experiments with formal arrangements and multimedia techniques.