Exhibition TextImages

acrylic paint, aluminium
105 x 130 x 5 cm


On the occasion of London Gallery Weekend, Arcade is pleased to collaborate, for a 2nd year, with menswear brand Drake’s to host an exhibition by John Wallbank at their flagship store at 9 Saville Row.


I started using aluminium as a way of carrying colour on surfaces which I was folding to create sculptures in the round. Over time, a process of simplification and reduction to what seemed essential resolved these into flatter wall based works which, although imitating paintings, I still think of as three dimensional objects.

Colours are physically separated from each other by their application to the individual segments that make up each work so that they are built-together rather than painted on. For each work I try out many combinations of colour, sheen and paint texture ranging from flat sprayed surfaces of a single colour to surfaces built up of many impasto layers using brushwork to describe the form of each segment. My aim is to find a point where the paint surface does not contradict the relief surface created by the folded or raised elements and works with the real passages of light and shade created by them.

Underlying these formal concerns is a process of observation from nature with many works finding there origin in such things as sportswear, vehicle livery, health and safety products, shop frontages, web pages, the conventions of heraldic design, and outdoor equipment.



John Wallbank (UK, 1976) graduated from the Slade School of Art, London in 2004.

In 2010 Wallbank was awarded the Mark Tanner Award for sculpture, a publication celebrating the award Thinking is Making was published by Black Dog Press in 2013.

Wallbank worked as studio assistant to Caro from 2005 – 2013. The exhibition Artist Boss at New Art Centre, Roche Court, Salisbury, UK celebrated Sir Anthony Caro’s studio assistants and issues of legacy in British sculpture (2017). The exhibition followed the publication of the same name; Artist Boss presents a series of interviews with Anthony Caro’s (1924-2013) studio assistants and critical essays that explore the role of artists’ assistants to raise questions concerning the status of production, originality, authenticity, and authorship within the tradition of twentieth-century British sculpture.



Founded in 1977 by the eponymous Michael Drake, Drake’s began as a purveyor of fine silk scarves, before moving into the manufacturing of handmade ties, for which the company became best known. Drake’s now offers a whole range of clothing and accessories, from Italian tailoring and English-made shirts, to knitwear, outerwear, and casual items.

Drake’s has always enjoyed a closeness to the art world, in part because Creative Director Michael Hill is an avid collector of contemporary artists. But also, Drake’s puts an emphasis on traditional craft and the handmade, so there is a certain shared ethos between the company and the artists it has worked with.

On several occasions, Drake’s has collaborated directly with artists to produce illustrated pocket squares and scarves. In the past this has included Andrew Bick, Rose Blake, Adam Dant, Edouard Baribeau, and Jane Wilbraham. Drake’s also worked with the Tate Britain to produce limited edition pocket squares and scarves to accompany their 2019 retrospective of work by British painter, Frank Bowling.