Morgan Lehman Gallery is pleased to present After Kafka, an exhibition of new sculptural paintings and works on paper by James Meyer.
The strange, distant world of childhood memory is a consistent theme in the work of James Meyer. While never explicitly implied, the autobiographical nature of the artist’s own childhood, in 1960’s suburban America is the primary source of inspiration in his pictures. But while these images, culled from seemingly personal photographic sources are the choice of the artist, they appeal to the viewer as both instantly recognizable memories from their own shared histories.
Using a variety of media such as paper, wood, and brushed aluminum, Meyer creates monochromatic sculptural paintings that utilize repetitive images of children in motion and at play. In the case of his wood and metal works, negative space is created directly by the white walls of the gallery. His imagery is often repeated serially in different scale, material and size elevating the subjects to an iconic status.
The black silhouetted image of a young girl hula-hooping set against a grid background of candy-colored squares may not seem like a particularly ominous image, but in this work by Meyer, a palpable sense of dread is conveyed. As the viewer approaches the work, a topological “ball and stick” molecular model rendered in the negative is revealed. The cognitive association between the girl and the molecule range from the innocence of an elementary school science class to the horror of complete nuclear fallout. It is this juxtaposition of disparate, but psychologically linked images that is of primary concern in the artist’s work.
“This level of reflection that comes with non-sequential images is what I want to capture in my work. The pieces in this particular exhibition show the duality of the molecule on the atomic level, as well as the planetary level. The relationship between the two worlds shows movement as a static drawing. These works break down the image to a base of what the drawing is, without any complex painting. The combination of images makes a new idea that the two separate things did not necessarily represent on their own. My goal is to stop the viewer and make them think about what they are looking at.” -James Meyer, 2010.
After Kafka is James Meyer’s second solo exhibition with Morgan Lehman Gallery. His work is in the collections of institutions such as The Whitney Museum of Art, NY, The Fisher Landau Center for Art, NY and The National Gallery in Washington DC. He has exhibited in New York City since the early 1980’s. Meyer has lived and worked in the Northwest Corner of Connecticut since the mid 1990’s and has helped develop the Artgarage, an after-school open art studio at the local high school where students can work on long-term projects under the supervision of local artists.