RARE Gallery opens its 13th season with an exhibition of new paintings by Jean-Pierre Roy titled A Rational Spectacle, marking his second solo show with the gallery, and his first at its new space on West 27th St.
Roy’s work finds conjunction with Thomas Jefferson’s statement that “the light which has been shed on the mind of Man through the civilized world has given it a new direction from which no human mind can divert it.” This ideology was born of the post-Enlightenment age when the exaltation of rational thought brought about not only profound social and political change, but also radical change in the aesthetics of the optical. Now in an age when the geopolitics of global energy needs clash with the constraints of a changing planet, Man’s divergent thought systems seem poised to alter the civilized course of the human mind of which Jefferson spoke.
In this context, Roy re-examines the iconic Romantic tradition of Luminance as a symbol of the revelation of human knowledge. Turning his eye from the apocalyptic dystopia of his last series Landmarks, he seeks a horizon filled with human drama of a different kind. Massive engineering platforms lower devices into the earth, and cloud formations dance to the pull of unseen forces, as the nature of light itself is redefined by our explorations into the unknown of our own making. The divine luminance of the natural world of Cole, Bierstadt, and Friedrich has been reborn out of an age of particle colliders, Bose-Einstein condensates, and entropic reactions.
Roy fuses the duality of the analytical processes of the pre-cinematic scientists/artists of the 19th century (Church/Friedrich) with the fantastical grammar of the 20th century’s motion picture maestros (Scott/Spielberg). He seeks a greater understanding of the material forces that make the world through the very act of unmaking it. With his new body of work, Roy emphasizes that we have moved beyond the given natural world and seek to coax a deeper truth from reality by creating new conditions to explore. It is this idea the artist uses to embody a new “light,” a new luminance, that might hold us to Jefferson’s “new direction” and beyond.
Roy’s solo exhibition is running concurrently with Fit, a group show at the recently opened Allan Nederpelt Fine Arts Intl at 60 Freeman St. in Brooklyn. In Fit (September 10 – October 17) Roy will exhibit his monumental painting Landscape or Questioning…(2009), which measures nearly 20 feet in length.
During 2008 and 2009, Roy exhibited at The Torrance Art Museum in California (solo show); the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, NY; The Art Students League of New York; The Puffin Foundation in New Jersey; The Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago; and The Firehouse Gallery in Burlington, VT. One of the artist’s paintings owned by the Zabludowicz Art Trust is reproduced in Signs of the Apocalypse/Rapture published by Front Forty Press in 2008. This hard-cover volume features images by over 60 artists accompanied by writings and essays that explore artists’ ideas about the end of times.
A video interview with Jean-Pierre Roy is available on RARE’s website. You can look for us on Facebook as well.