SEPTEMBER 18 - OCTOBER 25, 2014
We were always intrigued by John Lurie's paintings on paper, canvas and clayboard. Beckoned into engagement by the neo-dada titles like And to This Day Alchemists Still Carry the Blue Thing, or King Pig Turned Flowers into Language. This Was Later Seen as a Mistake, asks the viewer to surrender to an achingly familiar yet intricately disassociated space. It is not at all difficult to comply. Synesthesia is defined as the mixing together or interplay of sensual reactions such as tasting colors or hearing curved lines. It is a creolization of the senses and mind. A notion apparent when looking at Lurie's paintings, yet there is even more to absorb. He blends in qualities not normally associated with the term; time, rhythm, history, irony, mythology, dangerous whimsy, light, and darkness all play in these works with an exquisite sense of color and unexpected juxtapositionings. It is a transgressive mix.
As a viewer you are asked to suspend not only disbelief but also preconceived contextualizations. This is not so different from Lurie’s powerful music: surrender to it and alternate worlds open. His painterly touch is delicate and often ecstatic, especially the jewel-like works on paper. They radiate like broken glass reflecting astral sun and moonlight. It is a wonderful thing when images placed together in mundane irony become visionary. He also melds Place without specific reference; you feel America, you feel Asia, you feel Africa, and you feel the Mideast but if you focus too hard on any one, then it becomes a dervish dust storm, spins off and disappears. You must be open to suggestion, not command.
This is the John Lurie of Lounge Lizards and Marvin Pontiac; the short televised series, Fishing With John; and the films Stranger Than Paradise, and Down By Law. John Lurie’s paintings coalesce in a synesthetic relationship with his past pursuits. There is music and film in these paintings.And they are freestanding as well. They reflect his creative sensibility.
Lurie has exhibited at Musee Des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, Musee d'Art Moderne Grand Duc Jean,P.S.1 in Long Island City,and theWatari Museum of Contemporary art inTokyo. This will be his first one-person gallery exhibition in NewYork in five years.
Once you have seen this exhibition there will still be things you don't know about John Lurie.You will be enriched by his continual ability to draw you into his parallel painterly universe. He may convert you and, in so doing, it is as close as you can come to being a synesthete.