Spring in Cambridge: the Visionary Drawings of John Devlin
Curated by: Dale Sheppard
Spring in Cambridge presents a selection of drawings and studies by Nova Scotia artist John Devlin. As an artist working from an outsider perspective, Devlin charts the physical, emotional and spiritual world through his work. Born in Halifax, Devlin began his studies in environmental design at Dalhousie University at TUNS faculty of architecture. He went on to study theology at Cambridge University in England in the fall of 1979; however, by spring of 1980 he had his first encounter with mental illness so his studies were cut short and he left a world of architectural antiquity for his hometown to receive specialized care.
Devlin began a creative journey after numerous years in and out of hospitals, discovering that using simple artist tools he could create a different kind of place. So began his construction of a utopian city, inspired by his memories of England, imaginatively re-invented, based on hidden codes, symbols and mathematical ratios, of an imaginary island in Minas Basin, Nova Scotia. This would be his new Cambridge, or Nova Cantabrigiensis.
Since 1984 Devlin has created over 675 letter-size sketches focused on King’s College in Cambridge. He has also continued a practice begun at that time writing poems, short stories and a dream diary. He has exhibited in Nova Scotia, the United States, England, Switzerland, Portugal, and France. Since 2012, Devlin has been represented by Henry Boxer Gallery, London, and has works in international collections including the abcd Collection, Paris, The Museum of Everything, London, galerie Christian Berst and the Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne.