John Hitchens’ main subject and source of inspiration is the landscape of the British Isles, its patterns, and forms in nature.
Born in 1940, John Hitchens is the son and grandson of painters Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) and Alfred Hitchens (1861-1942), respectively.
Having studied at the Bath Academy of Art, Hitchens first came to public prominence in the 1960s and 1970s with solo exhibitions in London at the Marjorie Parr Gallery and Montpelier Studio. John Hitchens’ work has been acquired by many public institutions and private collections in the UK and overseas.
While his early paintings were mostly pictorial descriptions of landscapes, Hitchens work from the 1990s onwards saw fundamental changes in his approach to the subject. During the past three decades, Hitchens has developed a visual language entirely his own. He turned his attention to exploring landscape through its essential components, such as stones, sand and wood, reducing structures to the basic forms of line and circle.
During a period of photographing landscapes from the air, Hitchens gained an awareness of the land as a two-dimensional composition. This period was also marked by Hitchens’ departure from the use of conventional square-cornered canvases. His paintings in irregular shapes and with layered canvases reveal the influence of three-dimensional art forms, such as land art and sculpture.
John Hitchens’ recent retrospective ‘Aspects of Landscape’ at the Southampton City Art Gallery (March to October 2020), presented the first overview of the range and variety of Hitchens’ work. Andrew Ellis, Director of Art UK, commented on the exhibition: ‘It is his sensitive observation of landscape, of man-made patterns and traces on the land, that makes John Hitchens’ work so relevant at a time when many of us are re-thinking our relationship to the land we inhabit.