Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Love Lock: Cycle of Violence, new works by Jesse Hazelip, in what will be his first solo exhibition in New York. In conjunction with the event, the artist will release a 3-color screen print, available for purchase during the opening reception.

Hazelip will build a site-specific installation out of plexiglass, replicating a jail cell using the measurements of a solitary confinement unit (six by nine feet), which he will occupy during the reception alongside musician and visual artist Bianca Casady (of CocoRosie).

Jesse Hazelip will be present at the gallery, occupying his site-specific installation on Thursday 1/23, Thursday 1/30 and Saturday 2/8 from 3-5pm. During these three designated Visitation times, visitors are welcome to speak with the artist while he is locked inside of the plexiglass jail cell.

In preparation for this performance component, Hazelip shaved his head and eyebrows for three new tattoos that correspond with the project. On the back of his head is a symbolic Ouroboros (snake eating its own tail), the subject of one of his drawings, referring to the cycle of violence within the Prison industrial complex. Across his eyebrows is the show title Love Lock, which was inspired by the name of a prison in Nevada. Finally, on the backs of his forearms, stylized text reads Nique la police (Fuck the police in French), readable when assuming the handcuff position (with arms behind the back).

Works in the exhibition include bull skulls carved in a scrimshaw technique, mixed media paintings on wood salvaged from an abandoned prison, as well as studies drawn with ink on paper. Some of the works are collaborations with James Allison, a friend of the artist's who is currently incarcerated.

Hazelip uses animal subjects in his imagery to explore themes of injustices within our legal system and underlying corruption in the prison industrial complex. The bull with butcher markings emphasizes the systemized labor practices and division of value. The wolf relates to a pack mentality created through incarceration sub-cultures, as individual prisoners align with hierarchical groups or gangs for protection and survival. The vulture, as a predator who preys on the disadvantaged, symbolizes the prison system as a whole.

Jesse Hazelip was born in 1977 in Cortez, Colorado amidst Navajo and Ute Nation territory. At the age of 13, he relocated to Santa Barbara, CA-a vastly different environment from that of his childhood. There, Hazelip became involved with graffiti. This led to him developing an aesthetic and technique that is woven into his artwork alongside the imagery and history of his native southwest. In 2007, he received a BFA from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA. He is currently based in New York.

All images courtesy of Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Jonathan LeVine
Gallery I
529 West 20th Street, 9th floor
New York (NY) 10011 United States
Tel. +1 (212) 2433822

Opening hours
Tuesday - Saturday
From 11am to 6pm