Looking both biological and man-made, Lerner's lyrical, fictional landscapes meander across the paper, growing outward as layer upon layer is applied. They depict a co-mingling of human-made and natural systems and the tensions between those forces reflecting Lerner's conflicted feelings about his own role and impact on our environment, "…while in many ways my work is a reaction to over-consumption and environmental politics…” These in-bewteen or non-places are grey areas, places not clearly one thing or the other, and open to interpretations. These are spaces of uncertainty or intermediacy offering a visual representation of these tensions through an unsettled shifting perspective. Lerner writes, “There is an in-between space where viewers can get a feeling, some type of emotional response, idea, thought, or lingering-mood that they may not completely understand but sticks with them in the back of their minds seeping into consciousness or dreams. I’d like this work to live in an in-between space to be revisited over time.”
Enjoy the first of three installments of our new Studio Visit series with New York-based artist Derek Lerner to learn more about Derek's history, process and where his work is headed in the future!
In Between is an exhibition of four new large-scale ink on paper drawings by NY-based artist Derek Lerner. Lerner’s drawings obsessively explore the complexities of contemporary issues concerning human interaction with and destruction of Earth’s environment through a series of visual metaphors that never allow for a certainty of place.
Derek Lerner's obsessive mark making builds dual perspectives organically as he expresses his attempt to reconcile conflicting feelings about human impact on our environment, including his own. Looking both biological and man-made, micro and macro, his lyrical compositions embody dualities, "…while in many ways my work is a reaction to over-consumption and environmental politics, the drawings themselves are yet another "thing" added to the world, made no less with materials that are potentially damaging to the environment." Although Lerner's work emphasizes the destructive nature of man, his work is evidence that beauty can be found in what humans make as well as what we destroy; and that it is perhaps unavoidable for humans to create without consuming at the same time.
Robert Henry Contemporary is pleased to present Mapping the Equivocal featuring the work of Phillip Buntin, Derek Lerner and Robert Walden. A map is a representation of space or place, or of phenomena as they exist in space. Maps project a three-dimensional space on a 2-D plane, usually much smaller than the actual space being mapped. The best maps are often considered to be the most accurate ones, however, the assumptions, intentions, biases and preferences of the mapmaker subjectify every map. Maps convey nonlinear and simultaneous knowledge. In a single glance a viewer can tell what’s going on over the whole map at a single moment in time, a Gestalt. The three artists in this exhibition use what could be considered “thematic maps” to explore ideas related to hermeneutics, biology, environmental degradation and ontology.
Derek Lerner layers countless well refined marks, lines, and shapes to create complex systems that look as if we are peering through a microscope and a telescope at the same time. After 15 years of working, this group of 10 ink on paper drawings (all 2011) constitute Lerner's latest body of work, stemming from his contradictory feelings about urban sprawl, over-development and humanity as a virus.