Patrick Painter

John Newsom

30 May - 11 Jul 2009

© John Newsom
Flowering Feathers, 2008
Oil on canvas
84 x 108 inches (213.4 x 274.3 cm)
“Beyond the Horizon”

May 30, 2009 – July 11, 2009

Patrick Painter Inc. is proud to present its first solo exhibition of works by John Newsom at its West Gallery at Bergamot Station. Comprised of five large oil paintings, ranging from 70” x 45” to 108” x 156” in size, the exhibition continues to explore the natural order as an allegory for the human experience found in Newsom’s earlier work. Entitled “Beyond the Horizon”, the exhibition features a series of vibrant and energetic canvases, all of which incorporate a layered pictorial space, abstract patterning and highly detailed renderings of birds and insects in an exploration of themes of love, hope, courage, and change.
Newsom orchestrates complicated canvases, featuring a wide variety of gesture and attention to detail, which contributes to the conveyance of visible energies within the paintings. Newsom integrates various painting methods through his dynamic brushstrokes. The coarse application of paint is both a style and a statement for Newsom, in which the canvas becomes an emotionally charged field of action and the primal material qualities of the paint are fully expressed.
The canvases are also a visual bombardment of colors, patterns, and clustered movements, all of which translate the human experience into the vocabulary of natural systems. The vibrant and energetic narratives portrayed on these canvases serve as allegories for our own human existence. Survival, reproduction, and even love are the themes basic to our existence and that of the natural world.
In Beyond the Horizon, Newsom creates a striking dichotomy between the beauty and darkness in nature. The canvas features a yellow, red and white background, reminiscent of Pollock’s iconic splattered style, with large bright red polka dots. These hard-edged circles overlap the aggressive and expressive splattered surface. A serene pastoral scene, featuring lush green grass, leafy trees and calm blue waters, serves as the backdrop. Over a dozen falcons occupy the forefront of the scene. These predatory birds are in various stages of action, swooping and diving with talons outstretched. Many of the falcons are perched in various crevices of boulders featured around the edges of the canvas, necks craned and eyes glaring. Featured prominently in the middle of the canvas is a falcon with its prey clenched in its beak. The falcon’s deadpan naturalism confronts the viewer with mortality. The textured feathers, sharp beak and piercing round yellow eye result in an unsettling darkness as it contrasts sharply with the serene, and slightly whimsical, background. It is through the combination of harmony and discord within the pictorial elements that Newsom is able to create dynamic canvases.
Born in 1970 in Kansas, Newsom earned his BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA at New York University. Since his debut in the early 90s, Newsom’s work has been displayed in 15 solo exhibitions, including recent shows in New York and Milan, Italy. His work has been included in over 50 group exhibitions, including shows at the Guggenheim.
The opening reception will be held on Saturday, May 30 from 6 - 8pm.

Tags: John Newsom