CODA Gallery presents a new exhibition of paintings by Jamie Perry, running Feb. 2-23. An opening reception, attended by the artist, will be held 5-8 p.m. on Feb. 2 in conjunction with El Paseo Art Walk/Palm Desert First Weekend.
If you sense a bit of Edward Hopper in Jamie’s figurative paintings or a bit of Maynard Dixon in one of his landscapes, you’ve identified two of his inspirations in terms of style. In terms of subject matter, the native Southern Californian finds daily motivation from “being observational,” he says. “It’s little things I notice while driving around that immediately conjure up a painting in my head.” The idea for Painting a Brighter Future, for example, came to him when he saw two men stripping a billboard on a stormy day. In his interpretation, the subjects, under a dark and ominous sky, are painting a sunny day on a billboard.
Though he grew up in Claremont and now lives in Riverside, Midwest settings (e.g., a lone farmhouse on flat land) appeal to his minimalist aesthetic. At the same time, he attributes his love for symbols of the American dream and lifestyle to “growing up in Southern California where there’s so much opportunity.” Jamie further explains why people in his paintings are “faceless,” where the viewer stands behind or above the subject, and why the men typically wear suits and hats and sometimes hold an open umbrella.
“I want to leave it up to the viewer to interpret who the person is. It adds an air of mystery,” he says. “And I like ’40s and ’50s attire, so a lot of my paintings have a retro theme, even though they might show a modern setting.” Another recurrent element in his work is his French bulldog, Ace. The Introduction shows a retro-suited man slightly bent to speak to a dog, whose head tilts slightly as he listens. For the background, Jamie chose a Midcentury Modern carport in Palm Desert.
Notable collectors include actors Paul Rudd and Kevin Nealon, the Boeing family, DuPont, and the Los Angeles Dodgers.