Observations: My correspondence with John Kingerlee

In conjunction with a show in Dallas, I was asked to conduct and Q and A with internationally known artist, John Kingerlee. He would/could only communicate with me via a handwritten letter that came from County Cork, Ireland. Unfortunately, it arrived after the show and was never published. I found it highly moving and thought it would be a significant loss if people did not have an opportunity to read it. I was going to transcribe it. However, I think part of the adventure is deciphering his scrawling script.

Moreover, I have attached a video of the late Dr. Ted Pillsbury discussing Kingerlee’s work. He put him in the same league as Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon.

This entry speaks for itself. I find his work to be as stunning as Dr. Pillsbury did. Also, I feel that I should note that I scanned his envelope because I’m fond of the “reptile” stamp he chose.

The questions I posed to Mr. Kingerlee are as follows:

In what ways did Morocco change your life and your style of work?

Judging from online images, your work seems to be quite worked over with “layers”. I’m reminded of [fellow Irishman] Seamus Heaney’s bog poems. Is there an “excavation” that you’re working on? Can you characterize it?

As I understand it, you converted to Islam. Has this affected your painting? How?

It’s interesting that you make your own pigments from nature. So the process of painting begins with a pre-process, so to speak. Can you talk about that?

I saw an image of Quixote in one piece. Do you do much with specific works from religion, literature, myth?

Is isolation an integral part of your ability to work? How / why?

Some work has a “tribal” feel. Can you speak to that?

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And more images:

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