Wed 23 Jun 2021 to Sat 14 Aug 2021
Artist: Joel Mesler
Lévy Gorvy presents an exhibition of new paintings by Joel Mesler. Joel Mesler: In the Beginning is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Asia.
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Deploying both words and images, Mesler draws from childhood memories and life experiences, to make paintings that bring his private impressions into close contact with cultural touchstones and elements of universal human consciousness. The works on view in In the Beginning are composed with boldly stylized patterns that represent leaves of banana trees and other plants, along with animal forms, pools of water, and the sun. In subject and style, the tropical flora and fauna of the paintings bring to mind both the imagined jungles of Paul Gauguin and Henri Rousseau, and such iconic forms of mid-20th-century decorative arts as printed wallpaper depicting exotica. To these scenes, Mesler adds phrases rendered in script, experimenting with letter formation and its integration into his compositions.
Mesler conceived of these paintings by reflecting on the nocturnal reveries and dreamscapes of his childhood. As he recollects: “The paintings come out of the memories of nights my parents would go out for the evening. They would usually tuck me into my bed and kiss me goodnight, my mom leaving red lipstick residue smudged on my cheek. As I would fall asleep, all these elements would swirl through my mind as I hit REM. Their parting words to me, ‘Honey, you deserve great things’ and ‘The world is yours,’ and the animals in my wallpaper would meet with the furs of my mother’s jackets, the colors of their clothes and the smells of their perfume and cologne. I often thought about what my parents were doing as the night went on. I knew they did things, but I didn’t really have the language yet to describe them. The paintings in this show are my dreamscapes as my parents and I moved through the night.”
In the Beginning will be complemented by editions based upon three works from the exhibition. These editions will be offered exclusively by Lévy Gorvy, at the gallery’s location in Hong Kong and on its website. Mesler will also collaborate with fashion brand IZZUE to release limited-edition clothing and accessories featuring images drawn from the paintings on view in In the Beginning. The apparel will be available at I.T Hong Kong and Beijing.
About the Artist
Joel Mesler (b. 1974) was born in Los Angeles and currently lives and works in East Hampton, New York. Mesler has been the subject of recent one-artist exhibitions at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles (2021); Harper’s Books, East Hampton, New York (2020); Simon Lee, London (2018); and Galerie TORRI, Paris (2016). Mesler’s painting New York, New York (2021) is being sold as part of the Christie’s New York 21st Century Evening Sale on May 11 to benefit Community Organized Relief Efforts (CORE), an emergency relief nonprofit dedicated to supporting marginalized communities affected by or vulnerable to crisis.