Spencer Lewis “Six Jutes (2)”

Harper's Chelsea

poster for Spencer Lewis “Six Jutes (2)”
[Image: Spencer Lewis "Untitled" (2020) acrylic, oil, enamel, spray paint, and ink on jute, 96 x 67 in.]
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Ends in 25 days

Harper’s presents Six Jutes (2), the second iteration of an exhibition presented in two combinations of six, with one painting anchoring both immersive installations. Six Jutes is Lewis’s fourth solo show with the gallery and the inaugural exhibition at Harper’s Chelsea, 534 West 22nd Street.

Lewis’s raw jute canvases, dressed in thick layers of oil and acrylic pigments, are characterized by their bold, gestural marks that welt across the surface. Sweeping lines accumulate over softer underpaintings applied with dry brushed washes and spray cans, chaotically intersecting one another as they traverse the picture plane. Deliberately exposing the brown jute canvas in contrast with the vibrant pigments, Lewis embeds each painting literally and figuratively with pieces of his life: screws, brushes, and other odd detritus from the studio can be found peppered throughout the surfaces of the works, revealing a vulnerability distilled from loss and learning. Towering well above human scale, these paintings engulf the gallery walls and invoke a provocative and visceral experience that is invariably tied to the artist’s psyche.

Nearly a decade ago, while dealing with a personal hardship, Lewis began working on cardboard as a means to displace the preciousness of painting and to liberate his emotive impulses, which included physically assaulting his paintings with rocks. Painting on cardboard, and eventually jute, became a form of catharsis, because, as Lewis put it, “nothing mattered and so anything was possible.” Lewis’s painting lexicon has expanded in response to the new “neutral” he found on the surfaces of the jute canvases that have since become an indelible part of his practice.

With a dedication to painting spanning his adult life, Lewis is fluent in the varied temperaments of oil and acrylic media, which he manipulates to yield dripping strokes, sumptuous piles of marbled colors, and macabre crusts. Each finished work—which he considers to be a singular gesture—foregrounds the act of painting itself. However, Lewis’s performance is an orchestration, a constant oscillation between observation and mark making.

Spencer Lewis (b. 1979) received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2001, and an MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. His work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Harper’s, New York City and East Hampton (2020, 2019, and 2017); Sorry We’re Closed, Brussels (forthcoming, 2021); Nino Mier, Los Angeles (2016); and Edward Cella, Los Angeles (2014). His paintings have also been included in recent group shows at No Gallery, Los Angeles; LTD, Los Angeles; Lowell Ryan Projects, Los Angeles; Harper’s, East Hampton; and Brennan and Griffin, New York; among others. Lewis currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Media

Schedule

from January 13, 2021 to February 13, 2021

Opening Reception on 2021-01-13 from 10:00 to 18:00

Artist(s)

Spencer Lewis

Website

https://www.harpersbooks.com (venue's website)

Fee

Free

Venue Hours

From 10:00 To 18:00
Closed on Mondays, Sundays

Access

Address: 534 W 22nd St., New York, NY 10011
Phone: 917-675-6124

Between 10th and 11th Aves. Subway: C/E to 23rd Street.

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