This September Lazarides Rathbone Gallery welcomes Brooklyn based artist Oliver Jeffers for his first London exhibition Nothing To See Here.
In Nothing To See Here Jeffers will present a new series of works, which both question and observe modern life and its many conundrums.
Referencing familiar 18th and 19th century European landscape and still-life painting, the artist investigates, via themes of censorship and ignorance, the notion that knowledge is power. This is primarily fueled by the dilemma of trying to understand what is not yet understood versus the potential comfort offered by being willfully oblivious.
To this end, he studies the ways in which an individual may utilise his limited means to be able to control his environment so as to feel empowered, even if it means commanding the very obvious laws of nature to occur.
The artist also explores the familiar scenario of instant access to information: in 'The Search', he looks at the universal, yet relentlessly viscous cycle of the more one gains knowledge and accomplises goals, the more one will need to know and accomplish, climaxing in a fantastical drowning in vibrant information that cannot quite be processed.
In another set, by painting classic scenes only to deface them with the statement that there is 'Nothing To See Here', the viewer is asked which they'll believe- their eyes or their ears.
In contradicting modern scenes and subjects with references to classical painting, his depictions encourage the viewer to look a little closer at the world around them and question the mundane. This is ultimately trying to convey that learning through experience may be the only true way to learn, otherwise we’re just taking someone’s word for everything.
Through this exhibition of thought provoking painting Jeffers aims to ask “Are we blindly ignorant or are our eyes wide open in the dark?". Come and explore the inquisitive world of Oliver Jeffers.
From figurative painting, collage and installation to cartography and picture-book making, Oliver Jeffers’ practice takes many forms. His distinctive oil paintings have been exhibited in multiple cities, including the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the National Portrait Gallery in London.
Curiosity and humour are underlying themes throughout Jeffers’ practice as an artist. As much about investigating the ways in which the human mind understands its world, his work is also executed as comic relief in the face of futility.
Oliver’s picture books are translated into over 30 languages with HarperCollins publishing them in the UK and Penguin in the USA. Titles include the New York Times Bestseller This Moose Belongs to Me, Stuck, How to Catch a Star and The Hueys.
Working in collaboration with Studio AKA, Oliver’s second book, Lost and Found, was developed into an animated short film, which has received over sixty awards including a BAFTA for Best Animated Short Film.
Oliver won an Emmy in 2010 for his collaborative work with director Mac Premo. Picture Book awards include the The New York Times Best Illustrated Books, Smarties Award, Irish Book of the Year, The Blue Peter Book of the Year, as well as shortlists for the British Book of the Year, The Roald Dahl Prize and the Kate Greenaway Medal.
Born in Australia and brought up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Oliver now lives and works in Brooklyn New York.