Tag Archive | Jerry Kearns

School’s Out Summer Group Exhibit at Mike Weiss Gallery

Thrush Holmes, Landscape Series
Thrush Holmes, Landscape Series (All Photos By Gail)

School’s Out Bitches, and the Mike Weiss Gallery has a new group exhibition that captures summer’s sense of freedom – of playfully breaking from the ordinary and letting the imagination run wild. The show, which is, fittingly, also called School’s Out, includes works by gallery favorites like Deborah Brown, Thrush Holmes, Jerry Kearns, and Liao Yibai. We saw it on opening night, which ended up being the most crowded Thursday night in the Chelsea Gallery District that we have yet seen! It was just a crazy night, and lots of fun.

Thrush Holmes, Landscape Series

The only bummer of the evening is that I had forgotten my camera at home, and so was forced to shoot all photos with (gasp) an iPad — which is less than optimal when dealing with a very crowded gallery and very big pieces of art. A perfect example is the fact that I had to shoot this Thrush Holmes piece in multiple parts to really show it off without a bunch of people taking selfies in front of it getting in the way.

Thrush Holmes, Landscape Series 1
Landscape Series, Continued

But I love Thrush Holmes’ work — and you should as well — so why not cut it up into as many detail shots as possible, is what I say. Yes, more Thrush Holmes!

Thrush Holmes, Landscape Series 3

The panels of Holme’s take on the tradtional landscape painting are realized in shimmering neon fixtures and crude oil stick, each work containing the rudimentary elements of landscape – foreground, background, and horizon.  His work reminds me of cross between Andy Warhol and Keith Sonnier.

Thrush Holmes, Landscape Series 5

Deborah Brown, Erda
Deborah Brown, Erda

I only got one semi-usable shot of Deborah Brown’s blatantly Picasso-esque oil paintings, because of people and their damn smart phones, which they must look at while standing directly in front of the art.

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Jerry Kearns, The Big Dipper

Jerry Kearns is awesome and we’ve loved many of his previous exhibits at Mike Weiss. Here is what the Gallery says about the painting above, which I believe is called The Big Dipper:
Jerry Kearns’ multilayered “psychological pop” painting presents a panoramic view of modern culture with a very specific set of images. While the work seems ripe for a narrative interpretation, it is difficult to pinpoint if any relationships actually exist between each element. There is something disconcerting and dangerous about the Kearns’ entropic amalgam of characters – one in which square double-cheeseburgers, a levitating gun, and toucans play as prominent a role as the bikini-clad women and a joker-headed bodybuilder.” That’s right: Awesome.

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Jerry also painted these little hummingbirds, or whatever, on the walls around the gallery.

Liao Yibai, Panda Step, 2013
Liao Yibai, Panda Step

Liao Yibai’s intricately hand-welded stainless steel sculptures focus on the tangled social, political, and cultural state of modern-day China. Straddling a line between flippancy and seriousness, the dynamic figures merge the insider’s and outsider’s view — pandas and dragons tie together the artist’s own experience growing up in China and, at the same time, play with the Western (mis)conceptions of China he has experienced while living in the United States.

Liao Yibai, Wrong Food, 2013
Liao Yibai, Wrong Food

This is a pretty cool-looking sculpture of a snail. I wish I had gotten a better photo.

School’s Out! will be on Exhibit Through August 6th, 2016 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Schools Out Signage

Thrush Holmes, Balcony
Thrush Holmes, Balcony

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Jerry Kearns and Nora York Present Diva’s Song at Mike Weiss Gallery

Diva's Song Signage
All Photos By Gail

You have just one more week to visit the Mike Weiss Gallery in time to check out Diva’s Song, the second show by Jerry Kearns at the gallery, and the first in collaboration with singer/performer Nora York. The exhibition features eight acrylic wall paintings of larger-than-life size characters as high as eight feet, seemingly out of a comic book, with thought bubbles that form a coherent yet ambiguous narrative.

My Heart Was Blind

Merging his own “psychological pop” aesthetic with York’s rendition of “Vissi d’arte” from Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca, Kearns and York have reimagined the aria, isolating it from the operatic masterpiece and widening its narrative scope to encompass all the intrigue, drama, and emotional weight of a full length story. Without the restraints of a canvas edge, the gallery becomes transformed into a democratized space – a stage where viewer and art, and reality and metaphor, play equally important roles.

Oh Why

The show begins with a theater banner that introduces the title character “Diva” as well as her gun-wielding cowboy boyfriend “Sugar” (or painter, if we’re following from Tosca). The cinematic effect continues from here into three “shots” of the lone diva. Thought bubbles like, “Oh why, oh why, oh why, oh why, does this burden lay so heavy on my mind? Oh why, oh why, oh why?” take us into a vulnerable moment of existential anxiety, as if the distant future became suddenly, alarmingly immediate.

All My Life

The searching, introspective tone of the first room comes to boiling point in the main gallery space, visually evoking an operatic crescendo with a stark increase in scale. Two monumental close-ups – one of a tearing and/or perspiring victim and the other of a strong, enraged agent – create an emotional and psychological battleground that ultimately turns violent.

Sugar and The Devil

In the ensuing clash of good versus evil, Jesus and his crown of thorns are disconcertingly absent. Instead, we find Sugar, on his back and with a bandage around his head, in a fracas with the devil, whose own head, curiously, is the only realistically-rendered in the show. Unlike Puccini’s Tosca, the exhibition’s narrative outcome is ultimately uncertain. Definitely, however, the knife-wielding diva, in a stance reminiscent of Judith with the head of Holofernes, is the one in control.

Infused with Kearns’ archetypal cowboys, bad guys, and damsels, Diva’s Song inherits traits from the Spaghetti Western as well the opera. But perhaps the lineage can’t be so neatly partitioned. Throughout their careers, Kearns and York have had a seemingly compulsive attraction to montage, brazenly pairing the head of Jesus with the body of the cowboy (in Kearns’ paintings), or cleverly sampling the chord structures of Puccini with Pop melodic overlays (in York’s songs). While in both cases these amalgamations may initially seem discordant, their underlying foundations always reveal their harmonies. Diva’s Song operates in that same vein, translating various modes of representation – opera, film, and comic book illustration – into a single cohesive exhibition of wall painting.

The End

Jerry Kearns and Nora York are a married couple who live and work in New York City.

Jerry Kearns and Nora York’s Diva’s Song Will be on Exhibit Through Saturday, August 22nd, 2104 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Jerry Kearns RRRGGHH!!! at Mike Weiss Gallery

Jerry Kearns RRRGGHH!!!
All Photos By Gail

Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present RRRGGHH!!!, Jerry Kearns’ first solo exhibition with the gallery and the artist’s first show in New York since 2006. RRRGGHH!!! features 8 new paintings on canvas as well as 5 wall murals.

Skreee

RRRGGHH!!! restages the elemental conflict between hero and villain in the template tradition of this type of narrative, good versus evil, begun over 2000 years ago with The Book of Revelations and continued in different iterations today. The paintings present a layered dreamscape inhabited by a recurring cast of characters that have their roots in both the artist’s personal and our public histories. The narrative is organized around scenes from a hero’s journey, the hero himself an amalgamation of some of the most influential archetypes in culture.

Jerry Kearns Exhibit

RRRGGHH!!! Devil Detail
Detail from Painting Above

Each painting is a confrontation with one or more dangers, but the interpretation is widely open to discussion, while clues and misleading evidence are left on the canvas for discovery. These paintings reposition familiar images in a universal vocabulary, presenting a destabilized perception of our culture.

RRRGGHH!!!

Jerry’s work can be seen as history painting, charting our collective cultural mythology over the passage of the last 30+ years. His paintings employ the essence of Pop Art by using recognizable imagery culled from our culture, like the Jesus/Cowboy who was created from a 1950s cartoon and a projection of Bible belt realism. Instead of placing the characters in their typical environments, he uses the vocabulary and familiarity of pop culture imagery as a tool for analyzing the world around him.

RRRGGHH!!!

The Jesus/Cowboy is at once the outsider and the hero. He often seems lost in the action, looking the wrong way, or looking toward heaven even when danger is imminent and arriving in another direction that we, the viewers, can see unfolding. The animals in these paintings seem to know more than the protagonists do about reality. Good and evil are constantly at odds, and danger lurks everywhere. Each painting is layered with meanings, constructed so as to ask questions but evade answers.

Jerry Kearns Wall Mural

The narrative in this exhibition appears semi-coherent, familiar, and threatening to fall apart as it unfolds. Escaped prisoners are painted directly on the wall to create a didactic clash of literal versus symbolic space. These characters are closer to the actual space we live in, adding a new dimension for encounter. The exhibition plays out like a movie, unwinding its narrative through scene after scene – a painted, epic film still. The stylistic tendencies of his work speaks to the integrity of his practice and vision by allowing us the opportunity to encounter characters we know in an unguarded way, often at dynamic moments in their fictional universes.

The paintings are influenced by the artist’s childhood filled with cowboy movies and serials, newspaper cartoons, comic books, and the colorful illustrations his Preacher showed him in the Bible while growing up. In his work, Jerry is interested in exploring the fundamental relationship revealed in current exercises of power through imagery. Former President George Bush’s polarizing economic and political strategies, which were no relief after Reagan’s trickle-down economic policies, also play a role in the narrative. Jerry saw George Bush’s appropriation of the male archetype of the Cowboy realized in his approach of government policy.

Be sure and visit the Mike Weiss Gallery while RRRGGHH!!! is still up!

Jerry Kearns: RRRGGHH!!! Will be on Exhibit Through August 23rd, 2104 at Mike Weiss Gallery, Located at 520 West 24th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Jerry Kearns Exhibit Signage