MARC STRAUS

Gallery

John Newsom: BEASTS

March 14 - April 14, 2024

Opening Reception
Thu March 14 2024, 4pm - 7pm

MARC STRAUS is pleased to present BEASTS, an exhibition of recent paintings by John Newsom.

In this latest series, the artist merges the repetition, patterning and iconography of Pop Art with the surfaces, allover painting and heroism of Abstract Expressionism.

In the 1973 film Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee steps into a room of mirrors for arguably its most iconic fight scene. It is then that the teacher’s spiritual guidance reemerges: “The enemy has only images and illusions behind which he hides his true motives. Destroy the image and you will break the enemy.” And for Newsom, the enemy is a programmatic adherence to either representation or abstraction, which is a painterly line that he carefully balances. With lifelike rendering and expressionistic impasto, the artist employs the leopard as an ancient motif whose rosettes visually dissolve into allover patterning.

Like many young boys growing up in the 70s and 80s, especially in a semi-rural part of Oklahoma, the images of Bruce Lee with bleeding claw marks on his face and chest, or the iconic star atop a tiger skin rug, must be seared into the artist’s mind. But as survivors of 2020–2021 how can we ponder images of big cats, perched on vibrant red grounds and flanked with vivid, green Monstera leaves, without also considering the spectacle of Joe Exotic? As open-ended metaphors for humanity’s contemporary predicament, the viewer is left to discover whether these BEASTS are mystical, territorial, political, or even existential.

John Newsom (b. 1970; Hutchinson, KS) lives and works in New York. He earned a MFA from New York University and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Solo exhibitions include the Oklahoma Contemporary Museum & Arts Center, Oklahoma City; The Richard J. Massey Foundation for the Arts and Sciences, New York; and Patrick Painter, Los Angeles. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, MA; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno; and Vito Schnabel Projects, New York; among others. The artist’s paintings are featured in the public collections of The Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence and The Wright Museum of Art, Beloit, WI.

BEASTS is Newsom’s third solo exhibition with the gallery — it coincides with the opening of John Newsom: Painting the Forest of the Happy Ever After at The Brattleboro Museum in Vermont, which showcases a series inspired by the artist’s recent cover art for Killah Priest of The Wu-Tang Clan. The artist’s solo exhibition entitled New Growth in an Old Garden opens in May at the Kunstverein Heppenhem, Bergstraße, Germany. A two-person exhibition (with Raymond Pettibon) entitled The Seven Deadly Sins and The Seven Heavenly Virtues is scheduled for next year at Kebbel-Villa Museum in Schwandorf, Germany.

An opening reception will be held on Thursday, March 14 from 4 to 7 PM. The artist will be present.

 

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Works In Exhibition
John Newsom: BEASTS Living in the World Today, 2020
Oil on canvas
66 x 51 in (167.6 x 129.5 cm) 2024 Marc Straus Gallery
John Newsom

Living in the World Today, 2020
Oil on canvas
66 x 51 in (167.6 x 129.5 cm)

John Newsom: BEASTS North Star, 2020
Oil on canvas
60 x 40 in (152 x 101.6 cm) 2024 Marc Straus Gallery
John Newsom

North Star, 2020
Oil on canvas
60 x 40 in (152 x 101.6 cm)

John Newsom: BEASTS Fast Shadow, 2020
Oil on canvas
84 x 84 in (213.4 x 213.4 cm) 2024 Marc Straus Gallery
John Newsom

Fast Shadow, 2020
Oil on canvas
84 x 84 in (213.4 x 213.4 cm)

John Newsom: BEASTS Interlude, 2020
Oil on canvas
84 x 74.5 in. (213.3 x 189.2 cm) 2024 Marc Straus Gallery
John Newsom

Interlude, 2020
Oil on canvas
84 x 74.5 in. (213.3 x 189.2 cm)

John Newsom: BEASTS Keep Watch, 2020
Oil on canvas
108 x 84 in (274.3 x 213.3 cm) 2024 Marc Straus Gallery
John Newsom

Keep Watch, 2020
Oil on canvas
108 x 84 in (274.3 x 213.3 cm)

John Newsom: BEASTS Return of the North Star, 2024
Oil on canvas
84 x 84 in (213.4 x 213.4 cm) 2024 Marc Straus Gallery
John Newsom

Return of the North Star, 2024
Oil on canvas
84 x 84 in (213.4 x 213.4 cm)

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