Oliver Jeffers – Nothing to See Here
Yesterday evening Lazarides Rathbone Gallery launched Oliver Jeffers’ striking new exhibition entitled Nothing to See Here. The collection featured an array of themes, all based around the question: “Are we blindly ignorant or are our eyes wide open in the dark?” In this perfect location, Jeffers hopes to provoke his audience into questioning the information they willingly swallow on a day-to-day basis.
Jeffers was raised in Belfast and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has delved into many different forms of work, but perhaps his most eye-catching are his oil paintings. In this exhibition he has executed familiar, classical landscape, still life and portrait styles while adding his own prominent philosophies to each piece.
All of the pieces were undeniably clever and thought-provoking, but none so much as his still life hammers collection. There were hammers nailed up around the space, complementing the oil paintings Before and After Painting No.1 (2008) and Before and After Painting No.2 (2013), as well as his 3D piece Twelve Solutions to Conundrums – a real conundrum of a lone hammer and a nail suddenly attached to a wall with no indication of how, in this case forcing the audience to question the possibility rather than just looking at the information given without really seeing.
Jeffers’ exhibition also featured clever use of frosted glass over key sections of various oil canvases, again forcing the audience to seek out what they are looking at by looking around the glass, for example, the disguised boat in Nothing to See at Sea. This modern use of what can only be described as reverse psychology censorship has been perfectly paired with Jeffers’ blatant talent for fine oil painting.
Particularly impressive was a vast piece entitled Stay, featuring a suited man in a beautifully painted countryside “exercising his need to impose order on the world”. Aside from the initial humour of a man ordering a tree to stay, this painting reveals a sad truth about the state of society in modern times, and there is a pitiful humour in that as well as in the painting.
An absolutely stunning selection of work in a perfect space, executed in such a way that could only compliment Jeffers’ work. Nothing to See Here is certainly worth taking a look at if you are keen to be challenged by art.
Photos: © Lazarides Ltd, 2013
Oliver Jeffers: Nothing to See Here is at Lazarides Gallery until 3rd October 2013, for further information visit here.