top of page

John Gibson

I'm not a real chess player but my idea of what a gambit is goes something like this: I get my opponent to think that I've done something dumb, that I have exposed myself somehow. My opponent takes advantage of that with a series of moves that gets them into trouble because I was faking it, I lured him/her into a trap. I presented one thing and then once the other person commits they find out that really a whole other situation is at hand.

The gambit, or lure is: "Hello...these paintings and these things are totally familiar to you. They are just still lifes and they are just balls...there is nothing surprising here". But if you spend some time there is...right? What balls are these anyways? Where are they? What's the scale? How are they holding themselves up? And then the surface, or the material of the painting becomes the thing itself, almost a sculpture. What I thought I knew I find out that maybe I didn't so much. I want to give the viewer just an awareness of my expectations and the gift of a more rigorous understanding instead.

- John Gibson

Biography

For over forty years, John Gibson has focused exclusively on the shape of the ball, using it as a tool for exploring the space of painting. Often decorated with a minimal pattern to emphasize its illusory curvature in space, he uses his subject to comment on the elusive goal of depicting life in a way that captures and approximates, but never quite aligns with, three-dimensional reality. The tension between flat and dimensional space has always been central to painting; in a sense, the history of painting is the story of its engagement with this concept, from the invention of perspective to the breakthrough of cubism, which fused the two, to the flattening of the picture plane in modern abstract painting. Gibson’s patterned spheres allude to this history while at the same time retaining their integrity as basic objects—an interplay of opposing forces: flatness and roundness, lightness and darkness, simplicity and complexity.

Sue Miller, best-selling American novelist and owner of a Gibson painting, noted that “there’s an enormous tension, in this seemingly light-hearted painting, and the mind doesn’t tire of trying to work through it somehow, revising it endlessly, imaginatively, attempting to resolve the conundrum John has created—al the while relishing the close observation which that attempt demands.” The resulting paintings seem to contain a powerful kind of potential energy, the spheres on the verge of rolling out of the composition and into reality. At the same time, they’re silent and still, restrained by the materiality of paint, the flatness of canvas. With subtly rich colors and finely balanced compositions, Gibson’s paintings project intelligence, grace, and a hint of mystery.


"An intense familiarity with my subject has allowed me to become truly intimate with it so that very small adjustments mean a great deal. Every single aspect of what I do now in the studio is crucial. The scale of a painting, for instance, is hugely important. A smaller painting becomes an object, an icon or a relic. Larger paintings become expansive and reference landscape. Large is a different desire, a different yearning from small.

There are so many more factors other than scale; red is a different state of mind, a different taste and feel from yellow. A long horizontal creates an entirely different rhythm from a square. Oil paint on panel is something different-means something different-from watercolor on paper. A brush mark is a world apart from one made with a roller or a knife.

I know each of these differences intimately so that when I decide in between paintings that it should be yellow and not blue then I’ve steered myself in a way that is, really, the work itself. Over a long period of time I have found that these decisions were making the work less anecdotal-less and less about balls really-and more of a way to satisfy some longing for form in general. Apparently it wasn’t a ball I was interested in as much as an experience of roundness itself, or emptiness, or black. The work has become sparer over time-leaner-and more essential.

Often times those changes occurred after a great deal of planning and thinking. I studied, for instance, Joseph Albers or Agnes Martin and decided that the yellow should wobble…or that there should be much more white. Other times change occurred less consciously. Sometimes after years of making paintings of single balls you walk into the studio and see multiples everywhere; piles and pairs and rows and you say: “Oh! So this is what I have become…damn…I didn’t even know”.

And then you start again from there." - John Gibson

Born 

1958 Northampton, MA.


Education

1982 Yale University, New Haven, CT., MFA.

1980 Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI., BFA.


Teaching

1996-Present Drawing and Painting, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

1992-1998  Painting, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA 

2021 William Havu Gallery, Denver, CO

2020 Online Exhibition, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

2018 Pieces, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2016 The Space In Between, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2014 Ledges, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

          Artist Talk, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT.

          Opposing Forces, Brattleboro Museum of Art, Brattleboro,VT.

2013 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2012 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2011 Black, Gerald Peters Gallery, CA.

2009 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2008 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA .

2007 Muse Gallery, Jackson, WY.

2006 Gerald Peters Gallery (watercolors), New York, NY.

          Gerald Peters Gallery, Sante Fe, NM.

2005 Miller, Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

2004 Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.

          Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY.

2003 Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

2002 Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY.

2001 Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

          Hodges Taylor Gallery, Charlotte NC.

          Wendy Evans Fine Art, New York, NY.

2000 Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

1999 Painting the Improbable, FMCC, Johnstown, NY.

1998 Wendy Evans Fine Art, New York, NY.

1997 Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

1996 Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

          Rosen Gallery, Paris, France.

1995 Perspective Fine Art, New York, NY.

          Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

1994 Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

          Perspective Fine Art, New York, NY.

1990 Allan Stone Gallery, New York, NY.


Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 1969 Gallery, NYC


2019 Art Palm Springs, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Palm Springs, CA

          Art Market San Francisco, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

2018 35th Anniversary Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2018 LA Art Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2018 Art Market San Francisco, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, SF, CA.

2016 Miami Context, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Miami, FL.

2015 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

          Miami Context, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Miami, FL.

          Art Market SF, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2014 Art Southampton, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Southampton,NY.

2013 LA Art Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Los Angelos, CA.

2011 LA Art Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Los Angelos, CA.

          SF Fine Art Fair, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2010 Fine Art Asia, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Hong Kong, China.


Selected Public Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. • Museum at the Rhode Island School of Design, New Haven, CT. • Ackland Museum Chapel Hill, NC. • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. • Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.

Press

PRESS

Selected Artworks

Yucatan

Yucatan

Oil on Canvas

67 x 67 inches

24061

Bolero

Bolero

Oil on Panel

18 x 18 inches

23606

Virginia

Virginia

Oil on Panel

18 x 18 inches

23605

Avery

Avery

Oil on Panel

17.5 x 17.625 inches

23601

Wolf

Wolf

Oil on Wood Panel

62.5 x 42.5 inches

23582

Omega

Omega

Oil on Wood Panel

18 x 18 inches

23579

O'Sullivan

O'Sullivan

Oil on Panel

52 x 32 inches

23578

Greco

Greco

Oil on Panel

20 x 20 inches

23575

Deerfield | SOLD

Deerfield | SOLD

Oil on Panel

64 x 39 inches

23378

Ross

Ross

Oil on Panel

40 x 55 inches

23360

Oxford

Oxford

Oil on Panel

60 x 60 inches

23359

Camino

Camino

Oil on Panel

77 x 48 inches

23356

Mexico

Mexico

Oil on Panel

58 x 59 inches

23333

Home

Home

Oil on Panel

13 x 12 inches

180326

Namsan

Namsan

Oil on Wood Panel

20 x 20 inches

160408

Born 

1958 Northampton, MA.


Education

1982 Yale University, New Haven, CT., MFA.

1980 Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI., BFA.


Teaching

1996-Present Drawing and Painting, Smith College, Northampton, MA.

1992-1998  Painting, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.


Selected Solo Exhibitions

2021 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA 

2021 William Havu Gallery, Denver, CO

2020 Online Exhibition, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

2018 Pieces, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2016 The Space In Between, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2014 Ledges, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

          Artist Talk, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT.

          Opposing Forces, Brattleboro Museum of Art, Brattleboro,VT.

2013 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, St. Helena, CA.

2012 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2011 Black, Gerald Peters Gallery, CA.

2009 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2008 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA .

2007 Muse Gallery, Jackson, WY.

2006 Gerald Peters Gallery (watercolors), New York, NY.

          Gerald Peters Gallery, Sante Fe, NM.

2005 Miller, Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

2004 Hampshire College, Amherst, MA.

          Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY.

2003 Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

2002 Gerald Peters Gallery, New York, NY.

2001 Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

          Hodges Taylor Gallery, Charlotte NC.

          Wendy Evans Fine Art, New York, NY.

2000 Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

1999 Painting the Improbable, FMCC, Johnstown, NY.

1998 Wendy Evans Fine Art, New York, NY.

1997 Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

1996 Fine Arts Center, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

          Rosen Gallery, Paris, France.

1995 Perspective Fine Art, New York, NY.

          Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, NM.

1994 Miller Block Gallery, Boston, MA.

          Perspective Fine Art, New York, NY.

1990 Allan Stone Gallery, New York, NY.


Selected Group Exhibitions

2021 1969 Gallery, NYC


2019 Art Palm Springs, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Palm Springs, CA

          Art Market San Francisco, Caldwell Snyder Gallery

2018 35th Anniversary Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2018 LA Art Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2018 Art Market San Francisco, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, SF, CA.

2016 Miami Context, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Miami, FL.

2015 Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

          Miami Context, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Miami, FL.

          Art Market SF, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2014 Art Southampton, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Southampton,NY.

2013 LA Art Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Los Angelos, CA.

2011 LA Art Show, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Los Angelos, CA.

          SF Fine Art Fair, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, San Francisco, CA.

2010 Fine Art Asia, Caldwell Snyder Gallery, Hong Kong, China.


Selected Public Collections

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY. • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA. • Museum at the Rhode Island School of Design, New Haven, CT. • Ackland Museum Chapel Hill, NC. • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. • Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA.

For over forty years, John Gibson has focused exclusively on the shape of the ball, using it as a tool for exploring the space of painting. Often decorated with a minimal pattern to emphasize its illusory curvature in space, he uses his subject to comment on the elusive goal of depicting life in a way that captures and approximates, but never quite aligns with, three-dimensional reality. The tension between flat and dimensional space has always been central to painting; in a sense, the history of painting is the story of its engagement with this concept, from the invention of perspective to the breakthrough of cubism, which fused the two, to the flattening of the picture plane in modern abstract painting. Gibson’s patterned spheres allude to this history while at the same time retaining their integrity as basic objects—an interplay of opposing forces: flatness and roundness, lightness and darkness, simplicity and complexity.

Sue Miller, best-selling American novelist and owner of a Gibson painting, noted that “there’s an enormous tension, in this seemingly light-hearted painting, and the mind doesn’t tire of trying to work through it somehow, revising it endlessly, imaginatively, attempting to resolve the conundrum John has created—al the while relishing the close observation which that attempt demands.” The resulting paintings seem to contain a powerful kind of potential energy, the spheres on the verge of rolling out of the composition and into reality. At the same time, they’re silent and still, restrained by the materiality of paint, the flatness of canvas. With subtly rich colors and finely balanced compositions, Gibson’s paintings project intelligence, grace, and a hint of mystery.


"An intense familiarity with my subject has allowed me to become truly intimate with it so that very small adjustments mean a great deal. Every single aspect of what I do now in the studio is crucial. The scale of a painting, for instance, is hugely important. A smaller painting becomes an object, an icon or a relic. Larger paintings become expansive and reference landscape. Large is a different desire, a different yearning from small.

There are so many more factors other than scale; red is a different state of mind, a different taste and feel from yellow. A long horizontal creates an entirely different rhythm from a square. Oil paint on panel is something different-means something different-from watercolor on paper. A brush mark is a world apart from one made with a roller or a knife.

I know each of these differences intimately so that when I decide in between paintings that it should be yellow and not blue then I’ve steered myself in a way that is, really, the work itself. Over a long period of time I have found that these decisions were making the work less anecdotal-less and less about balls really-and more of a way to satisfy some longing for form in general. Apparently it wasn’t a ball I was interested in as much as an experience of roundness itself, or emptiness, or black. The work has become sparer over time-leaner-and more essential.

Often times those changes occurred after a great deal of planning and thinking. I studied, for instance, Joseph Albers or Agnes Martin and decided that the yellow should wobble…or that there should be much more white. Other times change occurred less consciously. Sometimes after years of making paintings of single balls you walk into the studio and see multiples everywhere; piles and pairs and rows and you say: “Oh! So this is what I have become…damn…I didn’t even know”.

And then you start again from there." - John Gibson

John Gibson
Biography

Press

I'm not a real chess player but my idea of what a gambit is goes something like this: I get my opponent to think that I've done something dumb, that I have exposed myself somehow. My opponent takes advantage of that with a series of moves that gets them into trouble because I was faking it, I lured him/her into a trap. I presented one thing and then once the other person commits they find out that really a whole other situation is at hand.

The gambit, or lure is: "Hello...these paintings and these things are totally familiar to you. They are just still lifes and they are just balls...there is nothing surprising here". But if you spend some time there is...right? What balls are these anyways? Where are they? What's the scale? How are they holding themselves up? And then the surface, or the material of the painting becomes the thing itself, almost a sculpture. What I thought I knew I find out that maybe I didn't so much. I want to give the viewer just an awareness of my expectations and the gift of a more rigorous understanding instead.

- John Gibson

John Gibson

"These artworks provoke my appetite for perception; they make me see and feel more. My paintings are not about a story of balls or about any particular time or place or episode... They assert themselves in different, more formal way. In this respect my work is influenced as much by the minimalist movement of the 60’s and 70’s as it is by the history of still life painting. "

I'm not a real chess player but my idea of what a gambit is goes something like this: I get my opponent to think that I've done something dumb, that I have exposed myself somehow. My opponent takes advantage of that with a series of moves that gets them into trouble because I was faking it, I lured him/her into a trap. I presented one thing and then once the other person commits they find out that really a whole other situation is at hand.

The gambit, or lure is: "Hello...these paintings and these things are totally familiar to you. They are just still lifes and they are just balls...there is nothing surprising here". But if you spend some time there is...right? What balls are these anyways? Where are they? What's the scale? How are they holding themselves up? And then the surface, or the material of the painting becomes the thing itself, almost a sculpture. What I thought I knew I find out that maybe I didn't so much. I want to give the viewer just an awareness of my expectations and the gift of a more rigorous understanding instead.

- John Gibson

bottom of page