‘Renaissance Goes Surreal’ is a new exhibition of fantastical large-scale digital prints created by Boroondara artist John Ashcroft. 

Contrary to the art of the Renaissance, Surrealism rejects the rational vision of life in favour of the magic and strange beauty in the unexpected. John Ashcroft takes images from the paintings of artists such as Titian, Poussin, Botticelli and Rubens and digitally transforms them into a contemporary context.

Inspired by his admiration of these great artists, Ashcroft reinterprets these masterpieces to acknowledge their enormous contribution to our history of art. Each of the resulting works is an unpredictable alchemy of motifs that reveal the magic of the unexpected and the uncanny.

Ashcroft, a retired economist, travelled extensively in Europe and the Americas throughout his career. He has viewed art in almost every gallery and museum in the world which provides a significant source of inspiration for his own art.

Ashcroft says of his artistic practice, “The art side of me has been there as a child, but I chose other careers… like going away to sea as a deck hand… wanting to be a sea captain… frustrated by health problems . [I] became a postgraduate majoring in Economics which led to becoming the CEO of an international chemical company. Only after retiring did I have the time and enthusiasm to become an artist.”

‘Renaissance Goes Surreal’ is part of the Town Hall Gallery Community Exhibitions Program, which invites local artists to exhibit within a professional arts context with the assistance and guidance of professional curators and the gallery team. Applications open in May 2021 for consideration in the 2022 program.

‘Renaissance Goes Surreal’ is now showing at Town Hall Gallery until Saturday 10 April 2021. See it person at the gallery or view online.