John Newsom creates hyperrealistic representations of flora and fauna, illustrating complex allegories of the natural world with layers with Abstract Expressionism and minimalist geometric shapes. Nature’s Course — on view March 24 through Aug. 15 at Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center — acts as a homecoming and mid-career retrospective for the Oklahoma-raised, New York-based artist.
“Growing up as a youth in Oklahoma, I had a yearning to travel and explore the world as a painter,” Newsom said. “Nature’s Course is the culmination of that journey.”
The exhibition will feature 31 of Newsom’s large-scale oil paintings from the last 20 years, documenting the evolution of his practice. While nature and its patterns shape the painting’s subjects, they also address ideas of the American West and the history of Newsom’s chosen medium.
“With each painting, John Newsom creates a universe of extended metaphors and multivalent narratives,” said Jeremiah Matthew Davis, Oklahoma Contemporary’s director. “With a unique combination of exquisite painterly technique, art historical allusions and rich storytelling, Newsom invites us not just to view his works, but to inhabit them.”
Newsom’s works not only function as something to witness, but something to inhabit as well. What first appears easily identifiable shifts upon further inspection of the multilayered works, asking us to reimagine what we see, what we think and what we expect from each other.
Nature’s Course will be the second solo show, after Ed Ruscha: OKLA, in the Eleanor Kirkpatrick Main Gallery of Oklahoma Contemporary’s new, $30 million home in downtown Oklahoma City. After providing contemporary art experiences for 30 years at the State Fairgrounds, the new facilities dramatically increase Oklahoma Contemporary’s capacity to meet growing demand for arts and culture across the city, state and region. Admission to Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibitions and most programs is free.