Park Place Gallery is pleased to present “The Figure Emerges”, paintings and drawings by John Mulvaney. In this solo exhibition Mulvaney observes the figure through his works. Among many accolades Mulvaney was awarded the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2001. He lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Painting to me is a contemplative, solitary experience in which I deal with my fundamental relationship to the universe, the void; creating an image of a figure in relation to that void, the figure-space relationship. Through the purposeful notation of form and space, touching the form in multiple places, I create a rhythmic patterning that begins to generate an infrastructure of its own spatial logic. The importance of this infrastructure of mark making is evident throughout art history, specifically the modernist and expressionist figurative tradition, as well as in the contemporary state. I see my work as a logical extension of this tradition, but more importantly as an expression of my own sensibility for the absolute breadth of form and space, in the sense that every mark is purposeful in the logic of creation. My aim is to have the marks harmonize in the soulful struggle to allow for oneness in relation to the specificity of everything within it, with different weights of focus revealing my individual consciousness, psychology and temperament.

Francis Bacon said, “The job of the artist is to deepen the mystery.”   

That statement basically encapsulates what I aspire to do in my own work.  But what does that mean, to “deepen the mystery”? What is “the mystery”? 

In my own work, the mystery has something to do with the touch. There is something magical about the phenomenon of paint (graphite/charcoal) moving across the surface of the piece, for the eye of the viewer to witness - later.  It is a rudimentary sign of the presence of the artist - the experience of creating it frozen in time. The touch is the 'how' of the painting.

The touch contains time and space, records the moment of perception and alters that perception becoming a different moment, a different way of seeing. The nature of reality being fleeting and in flux, the touch I feel is the truest indication of the moment of perception, the here and now. 

The moment of that touch is generated out of an improvisational energy of creation: creation being a conjuring of something out of nothing - an engagement with the void. The idea of what is accurate or right in your perception changes in the touch of the medium. It becomes ‘right’ in a different way. This improvisational energy brings into the moment a kind of knowing and a way of seeing that is beyond one’s ordinary consciousness and mechanisms of judgement - a way that is your own.



Exhibited artwork

Seated Figure

127 x 137.2 cm

5217,72 €


48.3 x 68.6 cm

2846,03 €


45.7 x 61 cm

Artist and Model

172.7 x 142.2 cm

5692,06 €

Naked Self-Portrait

149.9 x 175.3 cm

5692,06 €

Blue Head

48.3 x 58.4 cm

2846,03 €

Head 3/4 View

40.6 x 40.6 cm

2656,29 €


68.6 x 91.4 cm

Reclining Head

43.2 x 43.2 cm

2656,29 €


61 x 78.7 cm

3794,71 €


40.6 x 50.8 cm

2371,69 €


All shows


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