Flowers Gallery is pleased to announce Mortality Games, the first solo exhibition to be held in New York by renowned Canadian artist John Scott. The exhibition draws together works from 2008 to the present day, featuring energetic, raw-edged drawings and works on paper.
Throughout his career, Scott has used recurring figurative motifs to explore the broad themes of power, politics, conflict and mortality, which are continually enlivened by his contemporary subject matter.
One of Scott’s persistent emblems, the human figure with bunny ears, embodies a personal symbolism of vulnerability and anxiety. Identifying with their powerlessness, Scott burdens the characters with the plight of the ‘everyman’, the worker he sees as eternally suffering at the hands of politicians and captains of industry. His centralized, iconic ‘commanders’ are warlike Napoleonic figures, rendered as featureless silhouettes except for glowing red eyes. Alpha Male incorporates text scrawled on the surface; phrases such as ‘Event Horizon’ and ‘Black Sol’ suggest that his presence transcends the confines of history, existing ominously across the past, present and future.
His allegorical subjects have become increasingly self-referential in recent times. In his latest series of works from 2015, the artist considers his own inevitable aging process, introducing new symbols of flowers and a mummified form to reference corporeality, decay, restriction and attempts at eternity.
Scott’s drawings can be seen as acts of resistance and survival against the dystopian backdrop of a post-industrial world. Growing up across the water from Detroit during the 1960’s in Windsor, Ontario, Scott witnessed the unemployment, poverty and violence of an industrial city in decline, alongside the pollution and other dangers facing its blue-collar workers. Placing visual and material symbols of the automotive industry alongside images of war and apocalypse, (such as a painted car hood, which resembles an iconic fighter jet in Stealth Mountain), Scott references the terrifying effects of the advancements of industrial technology on contemporary warfare.
“His pieces are at once apocalyptic and hopeful; they evoke both fear of annihilation and the shrewd instinct to survive; they embody the conflicted state of anxiety that characterizes our being.” – David Liss, Event Horizon exhibition catalogue, 2008.
John Scott studied at the Ontario College of Art, University of Toronto and Centennial College, Toronto, ON from 1972-76. In 2000, Scott was awarded the prestigious Canadian Governor General’s Award for the Visual Arts. His solo exhibitions have included Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Montreal, QC; Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, ON; Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto, ON, and Air Gallery, London, UK among many others. His work has featured in group exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC; Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, Banff, AB; The Power Plant, Toronto, ON; Fodor Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and the Centre for Inter-American Relations, New York, USA. His work is in the collections of Museum of Modern Art, NY; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, ON; Canada Council Art Bank, Ottawa, ON; and Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, Banff, AB.