Untitled Head 1 (detail) 2011
John Kirby's paintings typically reflect complexities of gender,
sexual orientation and race with insight, emotion and painful
honesty. In his most recent series, Ghosts, Kirby makes novel moves
towards sculpture, creating small, subtle ceramic portraits that
still reveal traces of his familiar themes.
In Kirby's new, mysterious and deeply ambiguous works in
Ghosts, internal conflicts are conveyed through facial
expressions and body language. Much sparer than his previous
paintings, these recent works appear naked, bare and truthful. Yet
the bleak, wistful gazes of Kirby's Ghosts continue to communicate
the emptiness and menace intrinsic to Kirby's fascination with the
paradoxes of the human condition.