About the Artist
John Whalley was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1954, Whalley’s mother, herself an artist and graduate of the Pratt Institute, encouraged him to draw and paint from an early age. He completed his first oil painting at eight years of age at his childhood home in upstate New York, amid the beauty of rural countryside with its woods, hills, and lakes.
After considering a career in architecture, Whalley pursued formal art training at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he majored in illustration and minored in drawing and painting. In 1976, he moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts, where he regularly contributed artwork to a number of New England publications, including Atlantic Monthly and Yankee magazines. At this time, he taught painting workshops at the Brockton Art Center. In 1979, he moved to Lima, New York, and then to Harrison Valley, Pennsylvania, in 1981. In Harrison Valley, he helped develop a therapeutic art program for abused and abandoned children at an orphanage set on a private 300-acre farm. It was the remote and rustic setting of this farm and its surrounding hills that inspired many of Whalley’s early works.
“Authenticity is a hallmark of Whalley’s work, not only in the verisimilitude of the painted still life’s but in his ability to make us look at things we might overlook and to connect to them, their stories, and the people who used them.”
– JOHN O’HERN, AMERICAN ART COLLECTOR MAGAZINE, NOVEMBER 2011
After the birth of his two sons, the Whalleys moved to Standish, Maine, near where Whalley spent many summers as a youth. Here he completed a series of paintings in oil and egg tempera and began working on an extended series of large-format graphite still lifes, which were represented for many years through Capricorn Galleries in Bethesda, Maryland. He also pursued a special interest by participating in several short-term outreaches to homeless children in El Salvador, Colombia, and the Amazon region and served as a volunteer worker and teacher from 1997 – 2003 at the New Horizons Youth Ranch in central Brazil.
Over the years, Whalley’s work was exhibited widely in the museums of the Rhode Island School of Design, Purdue University, The University of Wisconsin at Eu Claire, University of Florida, and the University of Georgia at Athens. Exhibitions of his work have also included the Sheldon Swope Museum of Art, Deland Museum of Art, The Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, South Bend Regional Museum of Art, the Tampa Museum of Art, and The Coral Springs Museum of Art.
He had a solo exhibition of his drawings and paintings at the Office of the Speaker of the House at the State Capitol in Augusta, Maine and was awarded a 2005 Good Idea Grant by the Maine Arts Commission.
Whalley currently lives and works in Damariscotta, Maine. He is represented by The John H. Surovek Gallery.