One of the hottest properties in urban art makes his worldwide solo exhibition debut at The Outsiders Newcastle this spring. In yet another coup for the most influential art gallery existing beyond the capital right now, Miamiʼs Jason Seife presents Palindromes, a major new show across both floors of the Quayside space.
25 year-old Seife is among the compelling school of young artists taking inspiration from the high art of the Renaissance: itʼs “the shock of the old”, as art magazine Modern Painters dubbed the movement. But Seifeʼs prodigal talents in art direction – currently employed by some of musicʼs biggest names – bring a super-modern production style to his works, gifting him a unique status amongst his contemporaries. Moreover, Seife juxtaposes the pomp of the Renaissance with the reverential grandeur of space opera, incorporating science fiction motifs.
Like many of the finest upstarts, Seife is allied to the distant past and the far future rather than concerned with a disagreeable present. His opulent oil paintings “Are influenced by the Renaissance era, but I like to bring the work back to this generation through mediums that werenʼt used then,” he says, “washes in neon colours, roof tar to create texture, epoxy resin to build the paintingʼs layers in three dimensions, and graphic design techniques in the framing.” Seife does not lift imagery wholesale from old master paintings in a mixed media style – the paintings are purely a product of his triggered imagination.
This contrast, and the many different reactions his detailed, dramatic compositions trigger in the viewer have birthed the title Palindromes. (A palindrome being a sequence, or word, that is identical when relayed backwards.) “I use colour and shape to play with perception,” says the artist, “the Renaissance paintings were so dark as life was illuminated by candlelight – and the painters worked with a limited palette. Neither of course is necessary nowadays.” Jason namedrops Bartolome Esteban Murillo, Luca Giordano and Artemisia Gentileschi as his most referenced Renaissance painters.
“Overall the theme of the exhibition is overcoming odds,” says Jason. The paintings are dark in nature, but upon them lingers the unmistakable smell of victory. “Itʼs the dark times which have taken me to where I am today,” says the artist, “you canʼt enjoy reward without struggle.”
The exhibition features five large-scale works including a diptych 1.25 metres wide and almost two metres tall. Jasonʼs eye-catching circular pieces are included, one four feet wide. Motifs of the tempest, the inferno, and female-on-male mutilation occur. Each of these major works will be accompanied by its own musical score, also composed by the artist. The galleryʼs lower floor will exhibit both smaller pieces and graphite sketches incorporating flourishes such as gold leaf, or cutting-edge design flourishes.
Jason Seifeʼs Palindromes: urbane, as much as urban, artwork with a merciless sense for the dramatic.
Born and raised in Miami, Florida Jason Seife first produced chalk drawings influenced by Renaissance paintings at the age of ten. His teacher recommended him to a specialist school, but he was actually rejected by art college. After a spell playing guitar for the successful indie rock band Amely Jason returned to art and graphic design, producing cover work for Big Sean, Nicky Minaj and Pharrel Williams, the latter being a keen collector of his art.
Jason has only been painting in his own studio since 2012. The three paintings he supplied to his first ever exhibition, a group show in Houston, Texas, all sold at the opening. This early success has encouraged him to now focus fully on art.
The Outsiders Gallery
Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 3DE United Kingdom
Ph. +44 (0)19 12212560
Tuesday - Saturday
From 12pm to 6pm