John Zurier “On the Back of a Mirror”

Peter Blum Gallery

poster for John Zurier “On the Back of a Mirror”

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Over the last four decades, John Zurier has reflected on transient themes of nature and landscape in his ethereal atmospheric paintings. Through dedicated exploration of the intimate dialogue between color and light he strives to cultivate an immediate, yet unhurried, mood resonating with a sense of naturalness and intuition while avoiding explicit references to landscapes. Each work, with its subtle inconsistencies in mark making, invites viewers into a shared reverie of contemplation and tranquility.

On the Back of a Mirror takes its name from the final line of a haiku by the Japanese poet Matsuo Bashō, which reads in translation: “spring that people / do not notice—plum blossoms / on the back of a mirror.” Like Bashō, who was renowned for his ability to capture the deep feeling of a particular moment with only a few simple elements, Zurier, through deliberate brushwork and subtle tonal shifts, captures a sense of openness, calmness, and quietude, simplifying painting to its essence while embedding sensory richness in the austerity of his pieces.

John Zurier was born in Santa Monica, CA in 1956, and lives in Berkeley, CA and Reykjavík, Iceland. He received his MFA in painting from the University of California, Berkeley (1984). Selected museum exhibitions include: Moderna Museet Malmö, Sweden (2021); UC Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA (2018 and 2014); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2017); New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, NM (2016); Colby Museum of Art, Waterville, ME (2015). He has also exhibited at the 30th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2012); California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, CA (2010); 7th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea (2008); Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, England (2003); and the Whitney Biennial, NY (2002). In 2010 he was awarded the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.



from September 05, 2023 to November 04, 2023


John Zurier

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