John Doherty was born in Kilkenny in 1949. He studied architecture at Bolton Street College of Technology, Dublin (now TU Dublin) from 1968 to 1973 before moving to Sydney and beginning his career as an artist. For many years he divided his time between Ireland and Australia, but he now lives and works in West Cork.
Doherty is well known for his finely detailed studies of the minutiae of life in an Ireland that is slowly fading from view, slipping from the present into past tense. Recent works comprise an almost forensic study of our built environment and vernacular Irish architecture from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His realism is immediately attractive for its apparently benign normality; the abandoned corner shops and bars, the rusting petrol pumps, rotting boats and disused oil drums seem harmless enough, but upon closer inspection they assume a dark humour. His images, coupled with the wry wit of their titles, point towards the human stories that exist behind the facades that represent a meticulous examination of the half-forgotten life of the past.
He was Artist in Residence at the National College of Art in Papua New Guinea in 1979 and has shown his work widely in both Ireland and Australia. Doherty's work is included in major private collections in Ireland, Australia, America and Europe, and in the public collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Institute of Modern Art, Chicago; Irish National Stud, AIB Dublin and London; and Artbank, Sydney.