“Love, struggle, war, peace, time, the seasons of one’s life—these are just several of the ‘big themes’ I try and address in my work.”
A homegrown Oklahoma artist has returned to the heartland to have fun his colourful, mid-career retrospective. Nature’s Course, by NYC-based and Enid, Oklahoma-raised painter John Newsom, just lately opened at Oklahoma Contemporary, the $30 million museum’s second solo present after Ed Ruscha: OKLA.
Nature’s Course options 31 large-scale work created by Newsom over the previous 20 years. These artworks are on mortgage from collections throughout the U.S., from San Francisco to Palm Beach, Houston, Aspen and New York.
Newsom’s eye-popping work mix the animal kingdom’s most beloved topics with summary backgrounds of shapes and textures. Although his inspirations are basic, Newsom’s strategies break the mildew—industrial mops loaded with oil paint, brick-laying spatulas, and even one-haired brushes made from mouse whiskers, amongst different distinctive prospers.
“It’s incredibly humbling to experience this exhibition in my lifetime,” says Newsom. “Painting itself is a very ancient thing, a very old process of recording thoughts and feelings. Paintings obviously outlive the painter, and in many examples the works aren’t recognized in the painter’s lifetime.”
“I create my work with a conscious effort to keep the motifs and methods timeless. You don’t see any ‘man-made’ things in my paintings. Everything is composed of natural elements and gestures. This process allows the works to maintain a certain vastness. The iconography isn’t tied to a single time period, but hopefully transcends it. This way the paintings become very approachable to all peoples, from across the world.”
“Love, struggle, war, peace, time, the seasons of one’s life, these are just several of the ‘big themes’ I try and address in my work in order to inspire a sense of wonderment within the viewer. It really is all about wonderment.”
While Newsom’s work is extremely conceptual, its technical sensuality and recognizable material means everybody can take part in his contemplations.
Newsom provides, “A thought and a feeling cannot occupy the same space at the same time. And the key to the work I believe exists in the space in between thought and feeling. In order for a painting to be truly successful it must be balanced.”
Newsom has spent his complete profession in New York City, with a studio at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. He stays in contact with nature at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, a 526-acre expanse throughout the road from his house. His Oklahoma upbringing additionally prevails. “I have always carried that original pastoral landscape of the prairie within me,” Newsom says.
“Although I have lived my entire adult life in New York City, my early experiences of growing up on the Great Plains of middle America are something I can go to for reference. This is really where the naturalist affinity in my work comes from.”
Whether you’re catching this work in individual or nearly, Newsom emphasizes that “The paintings don’t exist without the viewer, which is literally the human component in the work.”
A tip from the artist: Concentrated suspension of disbelief makes Nature’s Course simpler. “I am hoping to slow people down so that they can gain a deeper experience and understanding of themselves and their individual lives so that when they leave the museum they will have a heightened sense of perception of how they experience the world,” Newsom says.
“To notice subtle things that they might otherwise have overlooked. This could be a relationship with their job, a loved one or a sunset. It’s the magic of the process of painting.”
He’s carried out the work on his finish to imbue the work all through Nature’s Course with care and humanity. After reaching a sure degree of success, many artists depend on a group of assistants to execute their work. Newsom nonetheless does the whole lot himself.
“There are plenty of successful painters who paint with teams of assistants,” Newsom clarifies. “For myself, it’s important to keep the original voice, the original mark. Mike Tyson had his arsenal of punches. They couldn’t be duplicated. Al Pacino can only act his own roles. These are artists too. It has to be natural and of the natural world, of nature’s course.”
Speaking of superstar, Newsom has some attention-grabbing private connections for a naturalist painter. The actor/director Matt Dillon interviewed Newsom for a Q&A about Nature’s Course, and Newsom created cowl artwork for Wu-Tang Clan rapper Raekwon’s upcoming sixth solo album. He additionally launched a two-person present with cult-favorite artist Raymond Pettibon at COUNTY in Palm Beach.
Nature’s Course stays on view by April seventeenth. Check out the present to finish Newsom’s work, and you’ll want to maintain your eyes on what Oklahoma Contemporary has in retailer.