Oliver Vernon
Unexpected Occurrences
January 17 to February 22, 2009

Oliver Vernon
Acrylic on canvas
66 x 56 inches
Contact the gallery for pricing and availability.

Joshua Liner Gallery is pleased to present Unexpected Occurrences, an exhibition of new paintings by the Brooklyn-based artist Oliver Vernon. This is Vernon’s first solo show in the gallery’s Chelsea location.

Created with acrylic and ink on paper, canvas, and wood, Vernon’s series of small-, medium-, and large-format works depicts his own highly idiosyncratic “Big Bang” theory. In the artist’s colorful vision of the cosmos, nature and culture collide (or cooperate) in the creation (or destruction) of the universe. Any questions of origin or outcome are overpowered by the sheer dynamism of Vernon’s images: a balletic interplay of protoplasm, cultural signs, body forms, geometric abstraction, and bravura brushwork.

In Sumi Gouache III, a progression of delicate aqueous blotches evolves into a solid network of bone shapes and contemporary graphic-design elements. In Pivotal Hotspot, these decorative elements are a soothing, ordered backdrop for the chaotic clash of wave forms—water, fire, lava, smoke, ice—embattled in diagonal swathes across the painting’s surface. Cross Fire III, a long, scroll-like work, depicts a smoky miasma of protoplasm and planets. Contained within space-age purple spirals, this dark mass bubbles against a background collage of architectural designs, snippets of printed Hebrew text, foreign money, and wallpaper designs.

Vernon’s quirky combinations of organic, mechanical, cosmological, and cultural elements teem with lively intelligence. Their intuitive grasp of the relationship between energy and matter, thought and action, also references wide segments of cultural production, including Native American art forms, contemporary Japanese graphic design, 20th century Surrealism, and New York School abstract painting. Vernon’s “cosmos” creates a fluid atmosphere where cultural material moves in and out of focus, amid other earthier dynamics. This metaphorical expanse also allows the artist to explore the “deconstruction and reconstruction of visual space.” According to Vernon, “Each painting has its own set of rules, or rather, the rules are being bent, broken, and ultimately formed within each painting. Color, form, energy, architecture, good, evil, flesh, and machine are lurking, never as physical entities but as transient archetypes searching out their final places within the framework of the cosmos.”

A native New Yorker, Oliver Vernon received his BFA from Parsons School of Design in 1995 and currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Solo exhibitions of his work include: Macro/Micro, Irvine Contemporary Gallery, Washington DC, and Oliver Vernon, Microcosm Gallery, New York (2007); Infinity Within, Lineage Gallery, Philadelphia (2006); Live Paintings Remixed, Jan Larsen Fine Art, Brooklyn (2005); and Far, Spector Gallery, Philadelphia (2004). Selected group exhibitions include: Aspect: Ratio, Small-Format Paintings, Irvine Contemporary Gallery, Washington DC (2009); Mapmakers, Meta Gallery, Toronto, and Groundwork II, Foundation One Gallery, Decatur, GA (2008); Claimin Space—Context and Urban Art, BLVD Gallery, Seattle (2007); Square Foot, Thinkspace, Los Angeles, and Mescalito, White Walls Gallery, San Francisco (2006); Convergence, The Showroom, New York, and Minds Wide Open, Light Space Gallery, Venice, CA (2005).

Joshua Liner established Joshua Liner Gallery in New York City’s Chelsea district in 2008. Building on the success of his former, Philadelphia-based Lineage Gallery, Joshua Liner’s Chelsea space introduces an exciting roster of young and emerging artists from the West and East coasts, Asia, and Europe.

Also on view, in Gallery II: Crash (John Matos), Unfinished Business, January 17–February 21, 2009.

Oliver Vernon

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Oliver Vernon and Crash opening reception (January 27, 2009)