Jack Pierson: Pomegranates at Lisson Gallery, NYC

Jack Pierson: Pomegranates at Lisson Gallery, New York City

New York, 7 September – 14 October 2023

Images courtesy of Lisson Gallery

Press Release: In his first exhibition with Lisson Gallery, Jack Pierson presents Pomegranates, a magnum opus as it were, featuring work from throughout the artist and photographer’s multidisciplinary practice. In this all-encompassing installation, Pierson incorporates photography, assemblage, text, and installation, testing the intricacies of personal and universal narratives. Traversing themes of beauty, identification, and the emotional undercurrents of daily life, Pierson offers a mise-en-scène of his life experiences and gestures toward the possibility of redemption through the creative act.

Photography, in one form or another, has always been at the core of Pierson’s output. In this exhibition, he delivers the well-chosen fruit of his endeavors in the studio over the last three years. Known for his lush, saturated color photography, Pierson’s new series of work takes on black-and-white studio photography as a means to investigate intimacy. As he states in the upcoming issue of Cultured Magazine, “I am figuring out whether it’s possible [for me] to create an intimate photograph in a studio context…Can I take a picture that is intimate in the way I’m known for…Can I do that in an empty white space?” In Lucian (2023), the model assumes an academic pose, his body’s graceful curvature enunciated with a salient luster, his countenance captured in a soft, focused contemplation–even in his composed stasis–as every contour of his physique is transformed into a node of affective possibility. The photograph displays the emotional rigor thriving in Pierson’s new series, as the body is seized in an empyrean meditative moment.

Pierson’s Arrays, in their New York debut at Lisson, anthologize his practice into large-scale optical displays of assembled imagery. Constructed using magazine pages, photographs, drawings, vintage posters, and other memorabilia, the arrangements are layered and fastened to ten by fifteen-foot metal panels, creating a tonal and thematic connection between each object. Using pink, blue, and black-and-white as organizing principles, the three Arrays explore their own materiality as well as the formal qualities of shape and color. Pierson’s process of continuously adding and rearranging the diverse components on the wall can be indicative of a collector’s mindset. Each material is afforded a highly-charged presence within the whole; works made by Pierson, purchased or found in his travels are set with exquisite, lapidary skill. For the first time, Pierson’s own watercolors and drawings have been embedded in the new Arrays.

In addition to the Arrays, Pierson is debuting a new suite of sculptures fashioned from silver painted plywood found in his studio. Continuing an approach of assemblage that he began during time alone during the pandemic, Pierson has erected these freestanding objects in a way that can be read both as plinths or furniture, and they act as structures for the arrangement and display of various materials already within his studio. These may include Pierson’s early 90s drawings or found photographs, alongside collected folk art, shells, exhibition posters and other ephemera. The works sit alongside other sculptural pieces, Kodak Composition (2023), Bed Springs (2023) and Hanging Wood (2023). They provide a structure for storytelling and the presentation of objects not necessarily made to be art, but that the artist wishes to be treated as art, archived, curated, and brought forth. The process of bringing forth is an ongoing celebration Pierson makes of what has gone before and what might be in danger of being overlooked.

Coinciding with the exhibition, Pierson will inaugurate a new gallery at 105 Henry Street. The gallery will open to the public October 1, 2023 from 12-6pm. Elliott Templeton Fine Arts will serve as a tribute to the antique shops that Pierson encountered in New York throughout the 80’s and 90’s often run by older gay men, which have now vanished from the map. The space will feature a broad range of programming and rotating presentations highlighting the male nude, physique photography and antique erotica. More information can be found online via Instagram @elliotttempletonfinearts.

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