Vigo is proud to present ‘Between Consciousness and Sleep’ at our new gallery in Mason’s Yard.
Jordy Kerwick (b.1982) investigates the materiality of painting through fantastical folkloric narratives populated by a cast of characters and motifs that inhabit a surreal world of Hansel and Grettalish Technicolor childhood dreams. Tigers, Unicorns, hybrid Bearwolves and feathered Snakes vie for Darwinian dominance in an environment of adventure and intrigue.
Living and working in the ancient city of Albi in southern France, Kerwick paints by day and works on paper into the evenings surrounded by the ebb and flow of domestic family life, inspired by his artist wife Rachel and two young boys Sonny and Milo. The most successful of these raw oil pastel, crayon and felt tip compositions become the starting point for his latest narrative paintings such as The Rise and Fall of St Cloud.
With their playful motifs these surreal, punkish and unapologetic works have a playful tension to them, occupying the ground between wonder, excitement and fear. In Kerwick’s world Tigers and Wolves stare at you deadpan with pop star nonchalance. These predators should be scary, but somehow they feel like heroes and adventurers. Kerwick is interested in parallel worlds where the rules are different and our presupposed knowledge is questioned. His sons for example are represented in his paintings by double headed snakes and tigers – always Sonny on the right and Milo on the left. Less abstract, the blue legs and kneeling nudes often seen in his work reference Rachel.
Kerwick’s non-biographical influences are myriad and include comics, books, film, science, anthropology, music, and art history, referencing sources as diverse as Stubbs and Twombly. He loves Matisse for his bold use of colour, line and the flatness of his collages, Dubuffet for his rawness and Frankenthaler for her subtlety. Widely collected and supported by other artists he in turn actively collects and encourages others valuing friendship and family above most else.
Forthcoming exhibitions include a group show at LACMA curated by Jimmy Lovine as well as solo shows at Wellington Arch (Museum), Vigo Gallery and Vito Schnabel next year.