101/EXHIBIT is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition Birds of America - Explorations of Audubon, a celebration of the gallery’s representational relationship with the Larry Rivers Foundation. The exhibition consists of a survey of works by Rivers, inspired by John James Audubon’s book Birds of America exhibited alongside works by contemporary artists who have been asked to create his or her own interpretation of a plate of their choice from the book.
Painted during the 1990s in tandem with the book’s re-release, Rivers’ bird series is a unique reinterpretation of master ornithologist John James Audubon’s influential illustrations of bird and plant life in America.
The bird series is “an offshoot of another bigger series that Larry executed in the late-80s to early-90s, called Art and the Artist, ” says David Joel, executive director of the Foundation and Rivers’ former studio assistant. “Essentially, Larry would focus on an artist and re-paint that artist’s works, incorporating the artist’s portrait into this new work.” Rivers treated this series similarly, invoking his soft spot for birds and painting their portraits on canvas while simultaneously incorporating Audubon’s essence into each piece.
While Rivers gained a reputation for devising new ways to manipulate two-dimensional surfaces over his career, his techniques and experimentation are vast and varied. The exhibition builds on Rivers’ conversation and practice featuring new artists and inspirations in a specific context. Each participant is experimental, collectively providing a survey of the various painting processes and techniques in use today. Contemporary participating artists include Jason Shawn Alexander, Pedro Barbeito, Brett Diemer, Zara Monet Feeney, Robert Fleisher, Thomas Frontini, Chambliss Giobbi, Daniel Horowitz, David Jacobs, Aaron Johnson, Nelson Loskamp, Patrick Neal, Paul Paiement, Tom Sanford, Jorge Santos, Kristen Schiele, Alfred Steiner, Eric White, Kent Williams, and Eve Woods.
Birds of America - Explorations of Audubon: The Paintings of Larry Rivers and Others will be on view at 101/EXHIBIT from April 1 - May 13, 2017 with an opening reception on Saturday, April 1 from 6-8pm at 668 North La Peer Drive in West Hollywood. A portion of profits from the exhibition will be donated to the National Audubon Society and the Larry Rivers Foundation.
Larry Rivers was an accomplished Jazz musician, painter, sculptor, poet, actor, television personality, filmmaker, MC, author, lecturer, and teacher – an elusive character to define, and difficult to contextualize his more than 50 years of contribution to the arts. A member of the New York School, Rivers experimented with every type of media he could. While he was initially influenced by the likes of Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Grace Hartigan, Rivers’ own oeuvre addresses his concerns with the recognizable. He challenged perceptions of abstraction, with many of his works featuring popular imagery, family, friends, historical figures, and himself in a style that he called “a smorgasbord of the recognizable.” Rivers experimented with three-dimensional relief paintings toward the end of his career alongside numerous other projects, handling hard hitting subjects such as politics, history, fashion, and sex with humor and irreverence.