529 West 20th Street. April 4 — May 2, 2015. Opening Reception: Saturday, April 4, 6—8pm
NEW YORK, NY (March 31, 2015) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Metazoa, a series of new works by Belgian artist ROA in what will be his debut solo exhibition at the gallery. Prior to the opening of Metazoa, the artist will participate in a residency at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, during which he will create all new works and paint a public mural at a Mana-owned building located near the approach to the Holland Tunnel.
ROA specializes in the portrayal of animals, specifically those that have been forced to dwell in the outskirts of urban society. Concentrating on wildlife that is native to the area where he is painting, this nomadic artist creates location specific work in a restricted time frame and allows the immediate surroundings to inspire him. For six-weeks leading up to the opening of Metazoa, ROA worked in Jersey City painting on found objects he personally foraged and, like the displaced animals he portrays, acclimated to uncharted territory.
Predominately using a limited color palette of black, white and red, ROA paitns his creatured with vivid detail, often including anatomical features such as skeletal structures and internal organs and strives to create a powerful sense of intimacy between the viewer and animals represented.
ROA views the beaver, the state animal of New York, as a metaphor for the idea that nature has the ability to reclaim itself. The recovery of the beaver in New York City after it was previously thought extinct is exemplary of how humans and animals affect each other and reflects the artist’s interest in how animals evolve within urban landscapes. Wherever man settles, the desire to explore beyond the borders of survival leads to the extinction of species. This extermination due to mankind’s impact not only disrupts the natural balance but also leads to drastic cosmic changes, which ROA aims to convey by depicting the life, transience and carrion of animals.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
ROA was born in Ghent, Belgium, which is where he began his career painting abandoned warehouses and factories and became fixated on the creatures he found living in the wreckage. His distinct portrayal of animals on a massive scale has made him one of the most recognizable street artist’s worldwide, painting murals in locations such as Cologne, Mexico City, New York City, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome and Sydney. In 2011, Mammal Press released a limited edition book entitled “ROA – An Introduction to Animal Representation,” which chronicles his work through photographs, sketches and reference materials. That same year his work was included in Art in the Streets, the first major museum exhibition concerning the history of graffiti and street art, at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in Los Angeles, California.
ABOUT MANA CONTEMPORARY
Founded in 2011, Mana Contemporary is a leading arts destination dedicated to celebrating the creative process. Headquartered in a former tobacco warehouse in Jersey City, Mana unites artists’ studios, exhibition spaces, and ancillary services in a single location, facilitating conversation and collaboration among its burgeoning creative community. Together with its sister campuses in Chicago and Miami, Mana serves as a lively center for all members of the art world. Visitors receive unparalleled access to a range of art-making techniques and presentations first-hand. A transparent, comprehensive hub of creativity, Mana offers a profound, personal approach to contemporary art. Mana Contemporary is home to the Richard Meier Model Museum, Gary Lichtenstein Editions, Eileen S. Kaminsky Family Foundation, Armitage Gone! Dance, Keating Foundry, The Florence Academy of Art, Shen Wei Dance Arts, and many others. For additional information, please visit: manacontemporary.com.