Many of us like to think we are still young at heart. A youthful spirit suggests a certain freshness, an unselfconscious exuberance. But there is a darker side of youth which we often lose sight of amidst the anxieties of adulthood. Growing up is actually, by definition, about coming to terms with a confusing, frightening and alien world.
John Kirby has spent his artistic career stripping away the defences behind which adults have learned to hide. His paintings describe, allegorically, the suffering of people squeezed into the straightjackets of religious, sexual and social norms. His haunting paintings, peopled by hybrid child-adults and transgendered, doll-like figures, point out the flaws in our rose-tinted view of childhood - and suggest that the child inside us may not be such a carefree spirit after all.
John Kirby was born in Liverpool in 1949. He trained at Central St Martin and the Royal College of Art in London. He has exhibited extensively in Europe and the United States in Solo and Group Shows and his paintings are included in several prestigious Public and Private Collections.