Gallery  January 10, 2019  Megan D Robinson

Space Exploration for Adults from Children's Author Oliver Jeffers

Courtesy Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Oliver Jeffers, For All We Know, 2018. Oil and pigment stick on canvas.

Courtesy Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Oliver Jeffers, A Break from the Unknown, 2018. Oil on canvas.

Award-winning children's book author Oliver Jeffers brings a sense of curiosity and a narrative sensibility to a new series of oil paintings at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. For All We Know, examines the cosmos and our connections to them. An award-winning artist, illustrator and author, Jeffers was inspired by his son to revisit his boyhood fascination with outer space. His surreal, nocturnal visions bring together constellation maps, deep sea divers, astronauts, sinking ships and pianos to tell stories about space, exploration and identity. 

The twin infinities of sea and sky weave through Jeffers’ paintings, creating an ongoing narrative about outer space and our place in the universe. An astronaut in The Stories We Tell floats in the ocean, holding a lit match above the waves, the match and the starlight reflected in the helmet visor. Two astronauts cling to a piano, in Lost at Space, floating away from an iceberg and a sinking, flaming ocean liner reminiscent of the Titanic. In The Rescue, a deep sea diver leaps through the starry night air towards a burning piano, which is triangulated by bright lines of force. The diver and the piano mirror trapeze artists about to perform an acrobatic feat. These recurring characters share a coffee break in A Break with the Unknown, standing together on a flat gray surface that fades behind them into an infinite night sky, their mugs reflected in their helmet visors. The dreamlike logic of his work draws the viewer into a place of introspection, peril and wonder.

Oliver Jeffers, Constellation Road Map, 2018
Courtesy Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Oliver Jeffers, Constellation Road Map, 2018. Oil on canvas.

Oliver Jeffers, The Rescue, 2018
Courtesy Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Oliver Jeffers, The Rescue, 2018. Oil on panel.

Oliver Jeffers, The Stories We Tell, 2018
Courtesy Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery

Oliver Jeffers, The Stories We Tell, 2018. Oil and gold leaf on canvas.

Jeffers grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Jeffers’ work has a multi-generational appeal. His award-winning picture books, such as The Great Paper Caper (2008) and The Incredible Book Eating Boy (2006), have been translated into over forty languages. His paintings have been exhibited in the Brooklyn Museum, Berlin, Dublin, London, Paris, Sydney, Washington, DC, and Belfast, and he’s collaborated with numerous artists, including Sam Winston, JR, and U2. This is his first solo exhibition in New York.

For All We Know runs January 10 through February 16, 2019.

About the Author

Megan D Robinson

Megan D Robinson writes for Art & Object and the Iowa Source.

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