change is death
April 27 - June 3, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, April 27, 6 - 8pm
JPW3 Summer, 2018 oil pastel and wax on canvas 72 × 96 inches
When a caterpillar is fully grown, it sheds its skin for the final time. Under the old skin is a hard layer called a Chrysalis. The Chrysalis stage for most butterflies is one with very little movement. Although, some species are able to move their abdomen to produce sounds to scare away predators. The hard skin preserves the aura of the young butterfly — something pure.
For JPW3s third solo exhibition with Martos Gallery, the artist has turned the space into a kind of Chrysalis; an aura of the artist's mind: thoughts on self-preservation, cycles of life, coded systems, viruses, predators and prey.
In dense layers of wax, oil pastel, acrylic, charcoal, paper, and thread, JPW3s gestures of submerging, freezing, and distorting forms, both mummifies and decomposes the imagery in some paintings, and alienates certain forms to fend for themselves in others: A row of vultures feed off skeletal remains; butterflies, and beetles fly around the walls; there's a fatal motorcycle accident, chains hang, and wheels stand still as though they're stuck in mid drift. The largest wall in the gallery is covered in a wallpaper created from hundreds of hand-drawn checkered patterns, transferred to newsprint like a book of coupons. The paintings that hang on the checkers float from floor to ceiling.
If preservation is key and change is death, then we must ask: what's next? We either transform and adjust to predators or simply emit a guttural sound to keep them at bay and continue on with a natural metamorphosis.
JPW3 (b. 1981 Tallahassee, FL) currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. JPW3 received his MFA from the University of Southern California (2012), and his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2005). Recent solo exhibitions include: Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne; Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Martos Gallery, New York (all 2017); Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (2016); Cooper Cole Gallery, Toronto (2015); Michael Jon Gallery, Miami; Night Gallery, Los Angeles (both 2014).