V1 Gallery presents
A solo exhibition by Jason S. Wright
Opening: February 28, 5-9pm
Exhibition period: February 29 - April 4, 2020
Artist Talk with Jason S. Wright and B. Thom Stevenson: February 28, 5pm
A surrender is an action that incites a new beginning. A surrender is a catalyst for change, a transformation.
A movement towards mindfulness. A movement towards solace, an awakening.
After the letting go, a complete surrender, the real work begins.
- Jason S. Wright, 2020
Jason S. Wright’s debut solo exhibition with V1 Gallery presents a new series of paintings on board and paper.
The medium, so heavily weighed down by traditions, and having so often been declared dead throughout the 20th century, is never just explored for its own sake; Wright reinterprets and revitalizes the painting through the visual culture which characterizes our age. A web of black/white photographs – cut-outs from found magazines or pulled from the internet – of pin-up girls, cowboys, 60s film stars, naked athletes and posing models from the 80s, sinks into Wright’s collage-paintings, together with his cartoonish figures and grinning grim reaper, a psychopomp used as a symbols for traveling between different planes of consciousness. Wright reworks and overpaints these disparate parts with gestural brushstrokes and soft airbrush in bold or synthetic technicolor. His visual explorations on board and paper – zines, prints, t-shirts or found materials – is never limited to one specific medium, nor is it syntactic or hierarchic. He cross-pollinates, combines and is constantly working on several projects and pieces at once.
The heavily layered paintings are accompanied by fragmented sentences, from pre-existing texts or hand-written in zine-aesthetic fonts, forming new subversive statements like “pose,” “you are not it,” “I see God in Everything” or “I’ve suffered my whole life for you, an’ waddaya do? Ya run away.” Operating like a bootlegger of visual culture, Wright lifts the hijacked images and words out of their original context and, as a strategic détournement, into his own world. A strange, fabulating, sometimes horrifying, yet always surprising, poetic visual vocabulary.
Try focusing on each of the small photographs or figures, reappearing across the different works, and your eyes will flicker. The flickering effect is most remarkable in the largest collage-painting, Dreamachine Usage (2020). In the center of the propeller-like composition, a male gaze meets you. Around him, a mosaic of fragmented black/white miniature photographs breaks through the reddish airbrush-filter, like surfers on the shore. A kaleidoscopic effect recalling Brion Gysin’s avantgarde light-cylinder Dreamachine (1961). On a wavy synthetically colored horizon, four grim reapers laugh with empty black eyes, as grotesques on a frieze. The obsession with the pose (poses abound in the clippings) becomes a transformation of action into gesture, or of “prowess into pose” (to use Barbara Kruger’s words). In front of Wright’s painting, the viewer is displaced and led to think: who is really posing here?
Wright’s paintings are above all transgressive; they are not restrained by their frames, but go beyond, and become part of an entire lifeworld. As a wide web of visual thoughts and ideas, structures and patterns, endless leaps of associations and conjunctions, abstract and figurative elements, the exhibition transforms the downstairs gallery into an immersive, hermetic environment of visual confusion that counteracts the sterile fluorescent light. Fragmented narratives of nonsense and wonder develop with sustained attention.
Jason S. Wright (b. 1987, USA), also known as Liver Ideas, lives and works in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Wright’s work is an exploration of the parallels found within the creative practice and spiritual practice. Deeply rooted in the underground traditions of self-publishing and bootleg ideology where it is more fruitful to create your own world rather than assimilating to someone else’s. He has recently mounted solo exhibitions at Thank You Gallery, Norfolk, Virginia (2019), Supply/Backdoor, Tokyo (2019), Lump Gallery, Raleigh, North Carolina (2018) and The Anderson Gallery, Richmond, Virginia (2018). With his small-press publishing house of artists’ books and zines (his own as well as other’s), U.D.L.I. Edition, he has exhibited at Independent Art Book Fair in Los Angeles and Printed Matter’s New York Art Book Fair at MoMA PS1. Wright is the editor and curator of the collaborative art and community platform Heads Magazine. In 2019 he launched the soda Miracle Seltzer (a piece in and of itself) with B. Thom Stevenson. Wright has participated in V1 Gallery’s annual MINE show in 2018 and 2019. Surrender Paintings is his first solo exhibition with V1 Gallery.
New artist’s t-shirt and zines will be released on occasion of the exhibition in-gallery and at V1 Gallery Store.
Artist talk: New Strategies for Artistic Practice
February 28, 5pm
A conversation between B. Thom Stevenson and Jason S. Wright
Moderated by Assistant Director Amanda Færk
An introduction to the artist's new exhibitions, influences, media strategies, self-publishing and peer networks