V1 Gallery is pleased to present:

Pale Gold

A solo exhibition by John Copeland

OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY MAY 03. 2024. TIME: 16:00 – 21:00

John Copeland continues his investigation and deconstruction of various myths, archetypes and iconography in this new body of work. Protagonists and antagonists are mirrored, trade places and become one. Outlaws, cowboys, antiheroes and independents populate Pale Gold, the new solo exhibition by Copeland. Marked and marred by their choices, lives and livelihoods, the characters are lonesome even in the company of others and are caught in a suspenseful sequence of somber reflections.

The dynamic compositions engage with 1960s era Italian westerns created by the likes of Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci. In paintings on canvas and paper, figuration bleeds into abstraction and vice versa, giving rise to new kinds of landscapes. Compositions balance on a knife’s edge between creation and collapse. Vivid and visceral brush work dance with fine and fragile lines while slashes, smears, scrapes, marks applied and removed create a push and pull. Naked canvas contrasts with dense and intense patches of oil paint. Bright blue and red hues, earthy tones give way to varying shades of black, descending into bone black. The tension in both motif and execution are palpable. The paintings vibrate.

The Italian westerns of the 1960s subverted the American ideals, archetypes and iconography of the genre. John Copeland’s new body of work pays tribute to the destabilisation and distortion in both form and matter. Engaging the iconography from a contemporary position, Copeland doubles, flips, abstracts and electrifies the familiar images. Copeland redacts and rebuilds, scrutinises and questions the archetype of the violent Western man. He interrogates the trope of broken-hearted men bound by pride and heavy destinies. Men who are proficient in the sinister and grapple with their inherent drive towards destruction and self-destruction.

In Pale Gold Copeland expands the parameters of the outlaw to include artists, writers, bikers and punks. A similar cast of characters has appeared often throughout his practice. Together, they form a band of outsiders that choose their own paths, shaping themselves contrary to the form established order expects.

John Copeland’s new body of work is a dialogue that channels the energy of Corbucci and Leone’s radical subversion of one’s self-image and self-understanding. Pale Gold revisits painting history and iconic imagery, questioning established narratives and proposing new ways of seeing.

John Copeland, born 1976, USA, lives and works in New York, USA. Recent solo exhibitions include Destino Matar, Eighteen, Copenhagen, Denmark, This Is Not My Beautiful House, Galeria Hilario Galguera, Mexico City, Mexico, Heavy Reverb, Huxley-Parlour, London, United Kingdom, Your Heaven Looks Just Like My Hell, Newport Street Gallery, London, United Kingdom. Pale Gold is Copeland’s eighth solo exhibition with V1 Gallery / Eighteen.