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John McGiff: Painting as Vision

March 16 @ 11:00 am - April 13 @ 4:00 pm


Artist’s Statement

I am naturally inclined towards making groups of images, exploring a central idea and evolving a language of gesture, color and design that best expresses the interests that grow from this meditation, often over the span of years.

A recent series, for example, is based on the palette and design patterns of Indian Ragamala paintings and involve using Indian block printing and gouache. The theme is the house as a repository of personal and historical memory, as well as a metaphor for the self. The compositions have moved from the exterior of these “Rag” houses to their inhabited interiors, the figures almost hermetic in their solitary pursuits, which hint at pursuits of self-knowledge.

The Icarus Unbound paintings that follow dramatize how these interior monologues might unfold, rewriting this Greek myth to suit the process. This suite of 6 paintings also mirror a three year therapeutic process with a Jungian Analyst in which I became aware of my path on The Hero’s Journey. Icarus is given a second chance to learn to fly and he does it with the agency of the Divine Feminine, with whom he ultimately finds union.

All of the paintings I make are in some fashion self-portraits and because the themes are common to us all, they touch on broader archetypal experiences that go beyond my own personal reflections.



I have been a painter and a teacher for over forty years and have exhibited my work in many different venues across the Mid Atlantic. I have recently relocated to the Hudson River Valley from Delaware, where I was Chair of the Arts Department at an Independent Boarding school for 20+ years.

I am currently teaching art history for Vassar’s Life Long Learning Institute and developing a series of paintings reinterpreting Classic Greek mythological tales. My reimagining of the Icarus story is travelling to 3 separate galleries this year, including the Lake George Arts Project. I live with my wife, Elizabeth, a ceramicist, and dog, Bear, in Dutchess County.  My Daughter, Olivia, is an illustrator in NYC and son, Aidan, is a builder and sculptor who lives nearby.


Thank you to our exhibition sponsors!

Images: Top: Icarus Awakes in the Garden, Gouache, 36″ x 48″
             Above: The Serenade, 2021,
Gouache, 30” x 38”


March 16 @ 11:00 am
April 13 @ 4:00 pm
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