Everlasting Nothing Less
AnnaKustera is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in New York of bold, young British artist Stuart Semple. The artist will show a series of new, large-scale paintings and installation pieces dramatically inspired and conceptually informed by his obsession with the reproduced and constructed image. Remarkably original, Semple carries the Pop Art tradition to a new, highly relevant and provocative level. Writing in "Artforum.com," critic Adam Ganderson described him as "The offspring of Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, as styled for MTV." Semple lives up to this imagined art heritage, his work dizzyingly reconceptualizing multiple fragments of cultural detritus and effortlessly synergizing the profane and the commodified to create startling new signification. Beyond the surface, beauty of the ever bright and enticing surreality of the Pop landscape is a secret dread that Semple innately understands and Semple's compositions are infused with that dark foreboding. "They all have this idea of a failed moment or the collapse of a particular situation," he says. "They occupy this place where the tragedy has happened, where atomization and individualism have reached a peak and the individual is literally stranded. I think the key word for everything here might be entropy."
The breadth of Semple's frame of reference is a constant adventure; the title for his new series of works ‘Everlasting Nothing Less' derives from a lyric in UK indie rock act Manic Street Preachers' seminal anthem ‘Motorcycle Emptiness'. In Semple's center piece, ‘Angelus', the motorbike in question is the black Ducati from the iconic Puff Daddy music video 'Missing You' dedicated to the memory of his dearly departed friend the Notorious B.I.G. Also in ‘Angelus' we see the artist assume the poses from Jean-Francois Millet's original work. To the artist, this is the ultimate reproduced mimetic image and profoundly emotionally resonant as he personally prayed most days for the first 13 years of his life in front of it.
Semple explores not only the multiplicity of meaning in the popular milieu but also the rapidly changing and diverse nature of the mediums in which we consume cultural products. He has ambitiously reproduced many seemingly mechanical reproductions by hand, utilizing thousands of tiny black and white dots. The production is invariably epic; in ‘Heaven Help Me For The Way I Am' the artist portrays in minute detail across two tondi, a 3d crucifix and reflective oil slick, an assassinated man, the DeLorean from ‘Back to the Future' and an ominous female emerging from the shadows. Semple instinctively captures the sense of catastrophe within the manufactured image and therefore the recording of mass culture itself is highlighted across the series in his freezing of snap-shot moments, a pivotal point of crisis for the image itself, often embellished with painterly emotive stokes. This body of work is an unsettling but exquisite invitation to ask profound questions about our shared mythologies and our personal relationship with the colorful, fractured world we inhabit that is transforming with paralyzing intensity.
Since studying painting and printmaking at Bretton Hall, at only 28 years of age Stuart Semple has gone on to exhibit his work in both group and solo exhibitions worldwide in London, Mexico, New York, Italy and Hong Kong. He has also participated in Biennials in Sao Paulo, Mexico and Liverpool. Semple debuted his performance ‘Happy Cloud' from Tate Modern this past February, where he released 2000 smiley-faced helium and soap clouds into the London skyline. The artist has also collaborated with major fashion houses, presenting his ‘TOY' project with Moncler at Art Basel in Miami. Semple has also undertaken critically acclaimed curatorial projects internationally, including his recent exhibition ‘Mash-Ups' for the Design and Artists Copyright Society. Stuart Semple lives and works in London and Dorset.
For additional information please contact the gallery at 212-989-0082.