John Drue S. Worrell “Architectural Jumpers”

Meredith Rosen Gallery

poster for John Drue S. Worrell “Architectural Jumpers”
[Image: John Drue S Worrell "Droopy (Self-Portriat)" (2018) graphite and mixed media, 63 x 26 x 24 in.]

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Meredith Rosen Gallery presents Architectural Jumpers, the first solo exhibition of American artist John Drue S. Worrell. It is the inaugural exhibition in the gallery’s new uptown space.

Worrell describes his work as a mutant form of minimalism that exists between times. His objects engage the viewer through familiar/unfamiliar representational forms, humor and recurring references to the American vernacular. He embraces and questions the Minimalists by exploring these non-abstract subjects in a language deeply rooted in materiality. He hones in on graphite in particular. Worrell’s sophisticated view of the rural landscape — a through-line in all the works in the show — comes from growing up in rural Indiana. Worrell was fascinated by structures such as round barns, an architectural form without any corners. Inside these barns he could feel the hermetic magic in architecture and was interested in the feeling that the space was more expansive than it actually was.

Worrell’s interest in graphite seems to bridge the rural world and the world of art history: it serves as a medium on paper, an academic material in pencils, a lubricant for farm equipment, a tool for numbering sheep and a means to release cast metal from a mold. He views the end point of pencil as a conditional tool that can determine your intelligence and magnify your place in the world. The artist loves the trompe l’oeil effect the graphite creates when applied to an object. It makes the weight of that object seem a lot heavier than it actually is and invokes monumentality. His use of graphite powder is an abstract act of defiance of the institutionalization of fate. The artist is interested in the contrast of the material to the gallery: brought together, the two create an organized chaos.

The exhibition will present three new paintings, all 69 x 49 inches, mimicking the dimensions of poster displays in New York City subway stations. The work contains imagery of a crater from a meteorite, an abstracted demonic portrait, artificial sunflowers, and a graphite cut-out of a Tommy Gun. Graphite is referenced in all of Worrell’s subjects, but most literally in the Tommy Gun: historically, graphite was mixed in gunpowder to reduce static electric. The piece references both the innocence of graphite’s more harmless mark-making uses and the evil of its use in gunpowder.

The exhibition will also present six new sculptures, with subject matter including a masked head, a monolith with a sheep on top and a graphite coyote where the head of the animal also reads as a meteorite. The work is simultaneously figurative and metaphysical. The exhibition’s protagonist Droopy (Self Portrait), is a cartoon dog. The artist refers to this piece as a shapeshifter, both domesticated and wild. The hands are Worrell’s own cast hands, transforming the work into a partial self-portrait that also questions the proximal contingency with the rest of the work.

John Drue S. Worrell (b. 1986 Terre Haute, IN) received an MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 2018. This is his first solo gallery exhibition.



from June 27, 2019 to August 17, 2019

Opening Reception on 2019-06-27 from 18:00 to 20:00

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