Jason McCoy Gallery is pleased to present Fall of a Sparrow, featuring an expansive mixed media installation that incorporates new oil on copper paintings, watercolor drawings and sculptures by Kevin King. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.
Kevin King examines the beauty and fragility found in nature's small treasures. He collects seeds, dried plants, feathers, and dead insects, for example, to arrange and re-assemble them into dioramas. Within the confines of a small box, King creates layered scenes, which are highly nuanced. Dramatically lit to create a consciously artificial effect, they serve as inspirational stage sets for King's paintings. The latter are rendered in oil on copper and rich in minute detail, the combination of which recalls illustrations from Indian and Persian manuscripts as well the International Gothic, all important sources of inspiration for King. Single feathers or textural characteristics of almost microscopic plant matter are meticulously represented. Despite King's devotion to realism, close inspection of his subjects reveals Surrealist twists. Quickly, plants turn into imaginary concoctions that can only belong to an otherworldly species. Meanwhile, King's rendering of the pin through the body of an insect, recalls its ephemeral life. Indeed, it is this juxtaposition of real and illusory, life and death that fascinates the artist.
These paintings are of things that are already gone and the act of painting holds them in the world in some small way. Although the bird is already dead and the butterfly has a pin through him, I am deeply committed to try and paint them with as much life force as possible. I am not trying to create something that exists in the world. In the dioramas I create my own artificial setting, often based on art from other cultures and times, in which real creatures are given place.
Fall of a Sparrow translates as a large-scale diorama. It is centered on the façade of a tree, from which various sculptural components, paintings as well as drawings, seemingly grow and expand out across the wall. It is King's most ambitious installation to date.
Kevin King was born in Wappinger Falls, NY, and received his education at the State University of New York at New Paltz. He has exhibited extensively in New York since the 1980s, and is the recipient of several awards and publications, including the E.D. Foundation Grant. He lives and works in New York.