The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water. ~Sigmund Freud
Wainscott, NY – Tripoli Gallery is pleased to present a new body of work by Jonathan Beer, in an exhibition titled, Pictures of the Floating World. An ambitious series of paintings, this is the second solo exhibition that Beer has had with the gallery. He painted throughout the pandemic, in a way the artist describes as, “Undulations” in the studio, moments where the tide rolls in and he works rigorously in comparison to moments when the shoreline is dry, or quiet. Looking at his paintings, one can almost imagine these movements when the body, not unlike a wave, approaches and then steps away from the canvas. Beer’s paintings, like a beach strewn with various shells whole and broken, have a malleable sense of history. At times, the work is made quickly and with broad colorful strokes. In other instances, he paints over something when it isn’t working, giving the surface a brand new life.
With titles like, Dance Yourself Clean a colorful abstract, highly textured painting to This is Fine an abstract work with some identifiable forms including a detail of the popular This is Fine meme cartoon dog, Beer’s paintings provide an opportunity for visual exploration. In a recent conversation, he shared that some of the content in his work is derived from pop culture, world events, and even AI prompts. Some of the subject matters are quite layered and politicized. All of these moments are put into a conceptual blender, and the result an amalgamation of all the artist’s own.
For Pictures of the Floating World, Beer does just that and invites all of those present to enter his world —a journey through time, hues, humor, distortion, and ambiguity. His painting expands a sense of consciousness, only further sharpened with each title, often a play on words. Delving into language and meaning, he tackles not only the canvas, but invented text such as, Diptych-Dispshyt and Rememory both toying with a proposed slang that can be understood but doesn’t exist. Perhaps that is one of the biggest strengths of abstraction, it creates worlds that bring so much to one’s life and space, and yet outside of the chosen surface, cannot exist elsewhere. ~Katy Diamond Hamer
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TRIPOLI GALLERY, founded in 2009 as The Tripoli Gallery of Contemporary Art, was located in Southampton for 10 years and moved to an expansive permanent, 2,400-square-foot space in Wainscott, New York in November 2019. Since 2005, founder Tripoli Patterson has organized, produced, and curated contemporary art shows in various locations around the East End of Long Island, New York City, and Byron Bay, Australia. They have hosted an annual Thanksgiving Collective show for 17 years. Press mentions include Galerie Magazine, Hamptons Magazine, New York Times, Artforum, and others.