Despite the instant familiarity of his subjects, realism is not an easy fit in John Bokor’s work – he finds it too constricting, too frustrating, too beige. Instead, he cherry picks from his experiences and influences to create scenes that are inspired by real life, but not beholden to it. If something isn’t working, he allows himself the freedom to scrape it all away and start over, adding, subtracting, and rebuilding elements until something fantastical but emotionally authentic emerges. What he’s creating in these narratives is an interpretation of the world more attuned to the human experience, with all the overlapping memories, converging viewpoints and imperfect realities we encounter. By highlighting rather than obscuring earlier layers of mark-making, he underlines the history of trial and error inherent to each work. In this, he captures humanity once again. For we too exist as layers – of mistakes, imperfections and successes, and the traces of the personal histories that have formed us.
John Bokor is a graduate of the National Art School, Sydney. Winner of the Muswellbrook Art Prize Drawing Section (2016), the Kings School Art Prize (2016, 2015), the Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (2013) and the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize (2012), he is a multiple-time finalist in nationally-recognised art prizes such as: the Muswellbrook Art Award (2020, 2019, 2015); Sir John Sulman Prize (2019); Eutick Memorial Still Life Prize (2019, 2014, 2013, 2012); Tattersall’s Landscape Art Prize (2019, 2018, 2017); National Still Life Prize (2019); Keduma Drawing Prize (2018, 2016, 2014); Mosman Art Prize (2018, 2017, 2015, 2013, 2010); Paddington Art Prize (2017, 2014); Rick Amor Drawing Prize (2016, 2014, 2012); Fishers Ghost Art Award (2014, 2013); Calleen Art Prize (2014); and the Fleurieu Landscape Prize (2013). His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia, the USA and Europe, and is held in major public, regional and university art collections.
Carrie McCarthy 2021