Large determined brush strokes. Splashes of white and silver paint. Hard lines of bright yellow, applied directly from the tube, slicing the canvas. Figuration rising from and disintegrating into abstraction. Heavy layers of paint obscuring fragments of recognizable shapes. Ruptured surfaces turning into exuberant compositions. Double paintings, mirrored images, conversations stretching from work to work and beyond. Suggesting parallel universes, multiple ways of seeing and understanding. Uncanny situations, group formations, strange gatherings, body doubles, interesting characters in fractured narratives. A surreal party where you would like to meet everybody. Lush environments bursting with colour, so dense, that you need to hack and cut your way into the motif. Classic compositions, still lifes and portraiture, are distorted and reimagined as gestural explosions. The new body of work from John Copeland is intense. It engages and demands.
The group of oil paintings on canvas feel like a response to our current superficial image culture devoid of friction and resistance. These are complex compositions that unfold with focus and time. They are not easily digested or categorised. The works comfortably linger between abstraction and figuration, nonchalantly defying classification. Asking us to look beyond, transcend and open up to the ambiguousness of the real.
Copeland’s work is informed by a long lineage of art, while maintaining a confident independence that enables it to work outside the confines of contemporary art. It speaks to us directly. Simultaneously bold and fragile. A poetic and visceral visual language that connects us.
John Copeland, born 1976, lives and works in New York, USA. A large solo exhibition of Copeland’s work, Your Heaven Looks Just Like My Hell, is currently on display at Newport Street Gallery, London, Britain. The curated exhibition is composed of a selection of Copeland works from Damien Hirst’s Murder Me collection.
A catalogue documenting If You Can Read This, You’re In The Wrong Place and the studio process leading up to the exhibition, will be published on the occasion of the exhibition.