Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to present our second solo exhibition of new works by Joseph Ayers. Ayers’ debut exhibition at the gallery last year focused on the artist’s fascination with the mysterious interplay between human consciousness and the natural world. In his latest body of work Ayers deals with allegorical portrayals of events in nature (e.g. oceans and forests) that embody the eternal procession of movement. Life forces that rhythmically pulsate within bodies of water, lovers, snakes, trees and the heavens are reflected upon in a variety of media including drawing, painting, sculpture and video. Ayers’ involvement with process is interwoven with everyday experiences through which he searches for and identifies connections between nature and the subconscious. The artist’s description of Ship in the Forest, 2009 (a work carved from a walnut) details his approach to process as we ll as to the romantic curiosity involved in his image making:
I found the actual nut in the bottom of a tray full of junk at a street fair. The old couple that sold it to me for a dollar had curious eyes. I could already see the forest in the walnut from the lines and wrinkles around its edges. At that time I wasn’t thinking about what might be inside. So I carved away, little by little, for about three months, until I started seeing the forest come to life.
As the trees around the walnut were getting closer to completion, I was beginning to wonder what the innards of the walnut might become. I knew that it was separated into different cavities by thin walls, but had no idea if there would be enough of anything to salvage.
Finally, I found the ship in the center of the walnut; now a ringed forest.
Ayers who was born and raised in rural Florida, graduated from the Hunter College MFA Program in 2007, and currently resides in New York. He is the recipient of The President’s Showcase Award at Hunter College in 2008, Third Place Heavy Weight Black Belt Division in Fighting, National Kung Fu Tournament, Washington D.C. in 2005, First Place Winner, State of Louisiana, College Art Association Poetry Award in 2001, and Airman of the Quarter in the U.S. Air Force in 1994.