James Guppy

(b. 1954. London, United Kingdom)

James Guppy exhibited a series of diptychs and interiors at Brenda May’s first Gallery in 1991, a relationship that has led to over fifteen solo exhibitions. Guppy also has an extensive exhibition history nationally and internationally in the USA. His powerful and enigmatic narrative-based paintings travelled to eleven different locations in a solo survey show (2009 - 2011) and his 2015 series In Flagrante Delicto travelled across NSW from MAY SPACE’S former venue at 2 Danks Street and Sydney Contemporary at Carriageworks (2015), to Tweed Regional Gallery (2016 - 2017). This series was followed by the body of work Counterpoint (2016), presenting cropped scenes of tension and passion.   

A socially and politically minded person, Guppy was a mural artist for the first fifteen years of his career before converting to canvas, as he enjoyed the democratisation of having his works on the streets. Throughout his career, Guppy's subject matter has varied from surreal moments, scenes of tension, billowing explosions, formidable women and anthropomorphic beings, all executed with a refined and intelligent approach, appearing both dramatic and lifelike. A part of the lure of Guppy's works lies in his capacity to convey tangible impossibility, whether that be endeavouring to represent the fluidity of sexuality by creating alternate genders (1998); producing images of labourers nailing down the edge of the ocean to the sand (2002); or portraying men in suits navigating roaring oceans, pastoral scenery, apocalyptic landscapes and clouds heavy with suspense, all the while remaining disconnected from the world around them as they carry out their "business" (2014 - 2015).   

Guppy's artworks are in numerous collections including Queensland Art Gallery, Artbank, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Lismore Regional Art Gallery, Tweed Regional Art Gallery, Warwick & Stanthorpe Regional Art Galleries, various university collections and private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe, UK and the USA. The Artist has worked as a visual arts lecturer in the UK at Lancaster University (1979 - 81) and Preston Polytechnic (1980 - 81); in Australia at Griffith University (1995), Flying Arts Inc. as a travelling lecturer in Outback Queensland (1996) and Southern Cross University in Lismore (2005); as well as in the USA as an Adjunct Professor of Arts and Media at Long Island University (Southampton College) in New York (1999 - 01).