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Image © John Badcock; Narcissist; 2018

Narcissist Series by John Badcock

Words by Pip Goldsbury

John Badcock’s latest work, Narcissist, is a series of paintings depicting a lone figure in the South Island landscape. Heavy layers of impasto oil paint have been incessantly remodelled to create a textural and gouged rendering that resonates Badcock’s raw style, marking him as one of New Zealand’s leading artists. High country ochre is slashed with suggestions of intense and unexpected colour, creating movement and vastness, while glacial blues conjure up emotions of calmness, profundity and awareness.

A sequel to Badcock’s Stations of the Cross, Narcissist explores the fifteenth station of the cross – The Resurrection of Christ. However, like Stations of the Cross, Narcissist’s referencing to biblical imagery is a metaphor used to explore Badcock’s personal journey toward emotional gratification and wellbeing.

While Stations of the Cross explored Badcock’s depiction of a strained relationship with his father, Narcissist is a celebration of Badcock’s arrival at the comprehension he does not need approval from his father or his critics. 'Darkness cannot triumph over Light.' Badcock is satisfied with his painting and he is comfortable with his life; he pleases himself.

Flipping the bird at his detractors? Maybe. But more relevant is Badcock’s arrival at this positive stage in his life. The term ‘narcissist’ may have become an on-trend theme that explores negative ideologies within modern society. But John isn’t a grandiose narcissist. His is a mature form of positive self-esteem and self-confidence, and he has eliminated his sense of worthlessness. He is his greatest critic who has learnt to like himself and the work he produces. He is Narcissus of Greek mythology, who has learnt to appreciate himself for who he is and what he does.