Cheim & Read announces a new exhibition by Jack Pierson, his third at the gallery. The themes of his work – sex, drugs, and the vicissitudes of longing in general – are broadcast in words and phrases formed by variously sized and styled letters from defunct movie houses, bars and road signage. The forthcoming installation at the gallery will feature a series of poignant wall drawings: elementary depictions of a cloud, of a clothesline, scrawled quips from everyday conversations, all evocative of the raging emotions and naïve lusts of adolescence and young adulthood.
Pierson has described his earlier work as documenting the tragedy inherent in the pursuit of glamour. It is his own dark-humored enchantment with glamour that gives his art its edge, making it as funny as it is plaintive or searching. He envisions the current installation as a kind of personal and artistic resurrection, a redemption modeled after such Pop icons as the later Elvis of '68, or the Billie Holiday who sang "Lady in Satin." A tableau of white objects will comprise a sort of self-portrait at forty.
The themes addressed by the new work in part reflect the artist's having, as he puts it, "lived fast but not died young." Here will be a wry and affecting riposte to our culture's ever more lurid obsession with fame, fashion and physical beauty. While the flame is certainly a presence in Pierson's work, one senses his true subject is something finally as captivating, a canny and abiding compassion for us moths.
Jack Pierson was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and lives and works in both New York City and Southern California. His most recent exhibition was at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. A forthcoming retrospective is being prepared by Richard Marshall, which will travel internationally. The book Jack Pierson: Self Portraits, comprised of fifteen tipped in color plates will accompany his exhibition at Cheim & Read gallery with an essay by Morina Grzinic.