John Blackburn occupies an unusual position in British art. Born in Luton, he trained at Margate School of Art before doing National Service and going to live for a time in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands (1954-62). He returned to England and a period of early success in the 1960s, when his work was bought by Jim Ede (who founded Kettle’s Yard). After that, Blackburn largely dropped off the artistic radar until he was rediscovered in 2002; but since then, his reputation has deservedly gone from strength to strength, and he has become re-established as a name to conjure with. Now in his eightieth year, Blackburn is recognized as an abstract painter of originality and vision, an artist capable of taking the Modernist project of St Ives (Hilton, Scott,Wynter, Lanyon and Frost) into the twenty-first century, and breaking his own new ground.