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John Rankine

  John Rankine began exploring the visual arts in his native Toronto, Canada. Working at first in textiles, he developed a dye/bleach printing technique for a series of wall hangings, winning him a Canada Arts Council grant.

Relocating in the early 1980's to Key West, Florida, Rankine continued his exploration in printmaking. In 1988 he opened "Is It Art", a gallery he ran and curated for more than ten years on historic Duvall Street.

Rankine was enticed by the small arts-based community of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and became a permanent resident in 1996. Now his assemblages reflected more of the natural world he discovered there. His "Smile Series" shown at the Rococo Gallery in Eureka Springs, utilized the barn-wood, scrap-wood and bones found on his land. In 1998 Rankine created "Headlites", an installation involving 25 individual found-object sculptures at Mud Street Cafe's gallery space.

John took up the camera full time in 1999 as a photojournalist for the "Lovely County Citizen", a weekly paper that he helped found. He documented the community for the next seven years and wrote a regular column(Art Beat) for the newspaper on the vibrant art scene in Eureka Springs.

In 2004 he exhibited a series of portraits of local artists to wide acclaim at Lux Studio in Eureka Springs. The series was comprised of 60 portraits documenting 75 artists. During this time he also merged his interest in photography with his love of found-object assemblage, creating several series of work in this combined medium. This new combination won him Best in Show at the 2007 Eureka Springs Fall Art Show.

Rankine has regularly shown at the annual White Street Studio Walk, and is an active member of the Eureka Springs artists community, participating in many group art shows and events. His contributions include two 8x4 panels for the former Artery wall in Eureka Springs.

He was also commissioned to shoot the 2007 Eureka Spring's School of the Arts fundraising calendar involving local artists and taught a class in photography at the school (ESSA).

In November 2008, Rankine debuted his photographic installation "A Community At Peace" at The Space in Eureka Springs. He was awarded an Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship for his multi-media installation. 

Rankine recently had one man exhibitions in Eureka Springs at The Space and in Toronto, Ontario at the Pentimento Gallery. "Beneath the Surface" featured a collection of photographs and found-object assemblages. 

We at the Norberta Philbrook Gallery are thrilled to have several of the photographs from "Beneath the Surface" currently in exhibition.

"Even as a child I had a fascination with objects, inanimate little things that I'd find, pair and meticulously arrange. Today, with my life-long passion in found art assemblage and my eight year stint as a photojournalist, these two mediums meld into what feels to be an organic progression. In this current body of work I attempt to breathe symbolic life into the inanimate, to tell a story and examine, hopefully with humor and beauty, some of life's no-so-pretty themes." John Rankine

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Norberta Philbrook