John Player was born in Victoria (B.C.). He now lives and works in Montréal. In 2014, he completed a master’s degree in painting at Concordia University. He exhibits his works regularly in solo and group exhibitions. In Montréal, he has exhibited at Galerie Pierre-François Ouellette Art Contemporain, by whom he is represented, and Art Mûr. He has also exhibited his works in Volta, New York, with the emerging artists at Art Basel, and at the Art Toronto international art show.
John Player’s art centres on the climate of mass surveillance that prevails presently and the progressive militarisation of everyday life. It represents in paintings — a medium that is usually confined to the private sphere — equipment and infrastructures that produce satellite imagery and aerial photography, as well as electronic systems for detection and for surveillance in public spaces.
There are no vindictive overtones in the documentation. It is matter-of-fact and detached from the culture of surveillance, and it leaves the interpretation to the spectator. By appropriating images borrowed from mass media, newspapers and archives available on the Internet, the artist reveals the scope of a menace that is well known and pervasive, but barely visible. The time devoted to the execution of the paintings and to their contemplation and interpretation is in opposition to the dominant culture’s obsession for speed, transmission and remote control in real time that is characteristic of a military economy.
In Baie-Saint-Paul, John Player will push further in that direction. He will discuss with the public the political and social issues raised in his paintings, with a view of raising consciousness and even stirring resistance to a worrisome alarmist logic. Painting, his chosen means for criticizing the current geopolitical discourse, may appear to be outdated in the presence of contemporary concerns. In fact, it simplifies and humanises the technological alienation of the world, and it calls on the largest number of individuals to engage in a debate on issues related to peace and social justice.