John Newsom “Bestiary”

Marc Straus

poster for John Newsom “Bestiary”

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John Newsom’s “Bestiary” is his first one-person exhibition in NY in seven years and in this interval he has honed his remarkable skills as one of our consummate painters of his generation. At first blush these dense oil paintings with owls, raccoons, deer, hummingbirds,
wheat fields – seem remarkably American and indeed Newsom, long in New York, comes from the heartland of middle America. But these are no more about a cockatoo bird than is a Phillip Guston painting about a potato or a Susan Rothenberg about a horse. Newsom like them takes the long view as to how imagery is made by hand with paint. He has reverence for the history of modern painting and Velázquez and Goya are as important to him as de Kooning and Twombly.

John Newsom’s works are elegiac verses where a moment of life is luxuriously captured and lurking on the periphery
of our consciousness is the thought that life is fleeting; it is not just seasonal, it is precarious. The wolf against a blood
red background is so gorgeous and fully alive with thick impastoed passages that we are almost unable to feel it as
threatening. That is because Newsom is not judgmental – life is a gift and man’s relationship to other living things is
not the point.

These are paintings each about 2 ½ years in the making and are comprised of layers of mental and physical effort.
Early on, before there is imagery, Newsom’s works are entirely abstract, paintings at that juncture that perhaps could
easily stand against the best. That is emblematic of what he is after, that a painting has to record its own making and
history and tackle the great history of its forebears.

They are sumptuous art works of a master draftsman with finely rendered raccoon whiskers along with uninhibited
freedom. Every painting by John Newsom is a full commitment.
- Marc Straus

John Newsom was born in 1970 in Hutchinson, Kansas.

[Image: John Newsom “Eager Feeders” (Detail), (2011 -13) Oil on Canvas, 120 x 120 in.]



from May 01, 2013 to June 30, 2013

Opening Reception on 2013-05-01 from 18:00 to 20:00


John Newsom

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