Artist Joanna Whittle talks about her painting 'Rain Tent', which is on display in the John Moores Painting Prize 2018 exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery 14 July to 18 November 2018.

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  • Deluges - Public commission for Kelham Island Industrial Museum and KICA. A series of 12 plaques installed on Alma Street , Sheffield, 2018

  • Island and Water, Steel, Stone - Mural and ceramic pieces as part of a wider public commission- CITU , Sheffield, 2018

  • Clapton to Centre Point, 1183 Trees, Museum of London- A year long residency funded by The London Arts Café in collaboration with the Natural History Museum. Culminating in a final show at the Museum of London, 2003-2004

  • Badly Led Lives, Tower records / Piccadilly, London : An installation at Piccadilly Underground Station in association with Bowie Arts, 2002

  • New Paintings, Agnews, London, Solo Show, 2001


  • Bethlehem Boys Club, Sidney & Matilda , Sheffield, 2018

  • Confluence at Bloc , Bloc Projects, Sheffield, 2018

  • Sense of Place, White Room Gallery, Sheffield, 2018

  • Body, Cupola Gallery, Sheffield, 2018

  • Land♦Scape, Exchange Berlin, Berlin, 2018

  • Confluence, Herrick Gallery, London, 2018

  • Uncommon or Garden, Jugg Art Foundation, Ipswich, 2018

  • John Moores Painting Prize, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, 2018

  • Brownfield Research Centre, AirSpace Gallery, Stoke-On-Trent, 2018

  • Public Commission, Kelham Island, Sheffield, 2018

  • Unique Beauty, Cupola Gallery, Sheffield, 2017

  • Strangelands, Collyer Bristow Gallery, London, 2017

  • End of Beginnings, Mandell's Gallery, Norwich, 2016

  • Various Species, Greystone Industries, Wickham Market, 2016

  • Sad But True, Dance East, Jerwood Dance House, Ipswich, 2016

  • Atrium Summer Exhibition, University of Suffolk, Ipswich, 2015

  • Atrium Winter Show, University of Suffolk, Ipswich, 2014

  • Winter Show, Subterranean Boulevard Gallery, Ipswich, 2014

  • Celeste Art Prize, 2006

  • Deck of Cards, 39 Gallery, London, 2006

  • Group Show, Keith Talent Gallery, London, 2005

  • Hand In Hand We Walk Alone, Clapham Art Gallery, London, 2005

  • Pocketscopic, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London, 2005

  • Christmas Tree, 39 Gallery, London, 2004

  • Aftershock, Oneaspace, Hong Kong, 2004

  • Pub Crawl, 39 Gallery, London, 2004

  • Francis Bacon as an Exquisite Corpse, 39 Gallery, London, 2003

  • Drawing Show, Keith talent Gallery, London, 2003

  • Four Colleges Show, AT Kearney, London, 2002

  • New Painters, Group Show, Agnews, 2001

  • Collector’s Choice, Exit Art, New York, 2000

  • Assembly, Stepney City, London, 2000

  • Summer Show, Beaux Arts, London, 2000


  • LAC Residencies in the City, London, 2004

  • Jardine Lloyd Thompson Painting Prize, London, 2000

  • TI Group Painting Prize, London, 2000

  • NADFAS Greater London Art Bursary, London, 1999

  • John Crane Summer Travel Award, London, 1999

  • Bundy, New York Travel Award, London, 1999

  • Amy Sadur Freidlander Memorial Art Fund, London, 1998


  • John Moores Painting Prize, Exhibition Catalogue, 2018

  • Expressions, ERPI, ISBN 978-2-7613-1975-1, p217, 2007

  • Celeste Art Prize, Catalogue, 2006

  • Art & Cities, Issue 14, Catalogue, 2004

  • Miser & Now, 2004

  • Art & Cities, Issue No.13, 2003

  • Joanna Whittle: New Paintings, Catalogue, 2001

  • Time Out, October 18-25, 2000

  • The TI Art Group Collection, Catalogue of Collection, 2000

  • Assembly, Catalogue, 2000


  • MA Fine Art, Painting, Royal College of Art, London, 2000

  • BA (Hons) Fine Art, Painting, Central Saint Martins, London,1997

Joanna Whittle


The work deploys material and illusory qualities of paint in an exploration of both real and imagined landscapes.  

The subjects are an enactment of romantic notions of the ruin with decaying structures and verdigrised surfaces. However, the buildings and sites are more contemporaneous such as the control tower from a former US air base and the paintings often contain signifiers suggesting on- going, furtive activity.

Recent work features temporary structures such as festival marquees or fairground equipment and treats them in the same way as more permanent structures. Tent canvas greens and bright fairground colours fade and peel. The impermanent nature of these structures undermines their solidity as they sink in to mud or water and there is evidence of very recent activity, with strings of lights still lit and flags hanging.

The paintings are often constructed from several elements giving them a frozen static quality.  The weather is oppressive, about to storm or bring up a wind whilst red light reflects from clouds. The water or mud isolates structures and trees, making islands and increasing the sense of something being not quite right.  Rather than the uncanny however, the paintings pursue those small moments of uncertainty, or hesitancy in our understanding or perception of reality and consequently realism. Elements give way to each other – grass becomes mud, becomes water which undermines the stillness, there is an undercurrent of flux or motility, of places emerging and submerging.

The overanxious handling of the subject matter is almost forensic, each element is studied and exposed. But equally elements give way to fluid and rough rendering to undermine this certainty. The paintings are on a small or miniature scale  making these worlds more focused and intense. They are not bodily landscapes but rather operate as small hallucinations or worlds running concurrently or beneath reality, formed by minute perceptions.