Cheim & Read is pleased to announce its sixth exhibition by the artist Jack Pierson. This will be his first solo exhibition at the gallery in six years. Opening to the public on June 25, the show will remain on view through August 29 and will be accompanied by a full-color catalogue, with an essay Jan Avgikos.
The new body of work is comprised of small watercolor and graphite works on paper, paintings and driftwood assemblages, made while in a self-imposed retreat on the island of North Captiva, on Florida’s gulf coast, from December to March, of the past year. Much like the artist’s well known work and installations of the last twenty-five years, these pieces are component in nature, existing as discrete pieces or as grids and rows, documenting a walkabout at once both cosmic and interior.
For the past several years in an effort to “get back to the hand” Pierson has been practicing “automatic drawing” a technique of the Surrealists made famous by André Masson. It was also an occultist pastime of the milieu surrounding Alla Nazimova, the silent film director and star of 1920s Hollywood. Pierson first exhibited his drawings around this subject in 2012 in Belgium as part of an exhibition entitled Jesus and Nazimova.
“As queer as it sounds,” Pierson remarks, “It’s just like my brain dancing on paper. I’m adding a new layer by calling them ‘Anagogic Paintings’. That comes from Jung, I believe, but I picked it up reading Michael McClure and Emerson while on the island. At the core, these are—after all, the paintings of an old beatnik.”
All men are in some degree impressed by the face of the world; some men even to delight. This love of beauty is Taste… The creation of beauty is Art. The production of a work of art throws a light upon the mystery of humanity… although the works of nature are innumerable and all different, the result or the expression of them all is similar and single. Nature is a sea of forms radically alike and even unique… Nothing is quite beautiful alone; nothing but is beautiful in the whole. A single object is only so far beautiful as it suggests this universal grace… Thus is Art a nature passed through the alembic of man. – From the essay “Nature” by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1836.