Flowers Gallery is pleased to announce Mortality Games, the first solo exhibition to be held in New York by renowned Canadian artist John Scott. The exhibition draws together works from 2008 to the present day, featuring energetic, raw-edged drawings and works on paper.
Throughout his career, Scott has used recurring figurative motifs to explore the broad themes of power, politics, conflict and mortality, which are continually enlivened by his contemporary subject matter.
One of Scott’s persistent emblems, the human figure with bunny ears, embodies a personal symbolism of vulnerability and anxiety. Identifying with their powerlessness, Scott burdens the characters with the plight of the ‘everyman’, the worker he sees as eternally suffering at the hands of politicians and captains of industry. His centralized, iconic ‘commanders’ are warlike Napoleonic figures, rendered as featureless silhouettes except for glowing red eyes. Alpha Male incorporates text scrawled on the surface; phrases such as ‘Event Horizon’ and ‘Black Sol’ suggest that his presence transcends the confines of history, existing ominously across the past, present and future.
His allegorical subjects have become increasingly self-referential in recent times. In his latest series of works from 2015, the artist considers his own inevitable aging process, introducing new symbols of flowers and a mummified form to reference corporeality, decay, restriction and attempts at eternity.
Scott’s drawings can be seen as acts of resistance and survival against the dystopian backdrop of a post-industrial world. Growing up across the water from Detroit during the 1960’s in Windsor, Ontario, Scott witnessed the unemployment, poverty and violence of an industrial city in decline, alongside the pollution and other dangers facing its blue-collar workers. Placing visual and material symbols of the automotive industry alongside images of war and apocalypse, (such as a painted car hood, which resembles an iconic fighter jet in Stealth Mountain), Scott references the terrifying effects of the advancements of industrial technology on contemporary warfare.
“His pieces are at once apocalyptic and hopeful; they evoke both fear of annihilation and the shrewd instinct to survive; they embody the conflicted state of anxiety that characterizes our being.” – David Liss, Event Horizon exhibition catalogue, 2008.
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