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Unorthodox Mixed Media: Art by John Turner

A mixed media artwork with a raised circle of wrapped barbed wireRing #3, polyester ribbon, four-pronged barbed wire, acrylic paint, sand, dried leaves, charcoal, string, canvas, oil, industrial insulation

Today’s featured artist is John Turner. John uses a variety of somewhat unorthodox mixed media to create heavily textured abstract paintings. The artist’s works celebrate an earthy look while depicting modern and minimalist geometric subject matter.


The gallery of Ring paintings on John Turner's websiteJohn's website gallery of Ring paintings


Using any combination of hay, string, gold and silver leaf, enamel and paints, John works in layers, usually starting by changing the texture of the canvas itself before applying pigment. I like to image how different John’s paintings must appear when seen up-close – the richness of the texture, reminiscent of art by David Maxim, is enough that I’m sure it’s easy to get lost in. The contrast between the minimal aesthetic of the paintings seen from afar and the busy, layered up-close look is an interesting juxtaposition.


A painting comprised of several bright orange squares on a dark textured backgroundDancing Orange Squares, string, sand, acrylic and acrylic chalkboard paint on canvas

In his portfolio, John divides his paintings into distinct series, each functioning as an extremely cohesive set, completed around the same time. It’s quite lovely to be able to see the progression in John’s practice, and the way he continues to innovate in his chosen medium. 


A mixed media artwork with texture built up from blue-coloured hayOcean, graphite, charcoal powder, acrylic paint, and acrylic chalkboard paint, hay, string, pencil, sand, and industrial silver insulation on canvas.

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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