Adam Beris: Fantastic Best Wishes
3301 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Saturday, April 20 at 4:00 PM 7:00 PM
Ends Jun 8, 2024
OCHI is pleased to present Fantastic Best Wishes, an exhibition of new work by artist Adam Beris. This is Beris’ second solo exhibition with the gallery and his first in OCHI’s Los Angeles location. Fantastic Best Wishes will be on view at OCHI, located at 3301 W Washington Boulevard in Los Angeles, California from April 20 through June 8, 2024. An Artist’s Reception will be held on Saturday, April 20th from 4:00 to 7:00 PM PST. Like a cartoon fox in pursuit of a snack that also happens to be a cute bunny, Adam Beris’ new paintings reflect desire and encapsulate the hunt for meaning. Mining the cultural landscape left in the wake of pre-Wi-Fi American consumerism, Beris pulls from a collection of visual material that was screencapped and stored on desktops or clipped and saved in plastic bins—composing paintings that hover like interventionist haikus. Beris’ selected imagery is mostly rooted in campaigns for popular culture that targeted Midwestern audiences in the late 90s and early aughts—freeze frames from old cartoon reruns, Superbowl commercials and radio jingles, logos from national conglomerates, and magazine ads ripped from content—all interspersed with esoteric and locally-sourced materials like delivery menu graphics, instructional manuals, or children’s books. In this sea of found forms, Beris’ strategies draw from Surrealist collage techniques and therapeutic exercises in free-association but are most directly linked to the artist’s decade-long explorations around the allure of symbols through the creation of his own lexicon of glyphs carefully sculpted out of extruded paint. Beris’ grid paintings evolved from rows of lumpy human heads graced with googly eyesight into an array of icons that include (but are not limited to) food and flora, sports balls and cigarettes, keyholes and clocks, eyes and teardrops, rainbows and miniature abstract paintings, letters and non-alphanumeric characters. The grids appear to vacillate between an infinite encyclopedia accessible through desktop icons and marketing infographics quantifying consumers as the things they carry. Beris also cites slot machines as an inspiration, with aesthetics calibrated to illicit psychological bonds that loosens a player’s grip on money in exchange for a dazzling audiovisual experience, a hit of dopamine, and a moment to fantasize. Locating the small plastic treasures buried in Beris’ grass paintings can be just as satisfying. As if the artist ran out of Roundup, extruded blades of grass appear to have grown up through the cracks between the grids. Designed as a foil to the grueling grid work, Beris’ grass paintings are inspired in part by collecting litter from neighborhood parties while on walks with his dog and trips to local 99-cent stores, where a different class of products proliferate. The grass paintings are also undeniably jokes about painting—the one about the painter who never leaves the studio and has to bring the outdoors in, or painting cigarettes instead of taking fresh air breaks from the fumes produced by off-gassing paint, or “throwing” “shit” at the “ground” to see what sticks, or a collector continuing to watch paint dry years after a painting’s been hanging in their house. In fact, one liners, zingers, quips, memes, inside jokes, and the like are essential to Beris’ practice, which he astutely combines with visual puns, slippages, decontextualized details, and statements of fact. “Painting is just a series of tricks and aha moments,” Beris says, describing his work as an accumulation of dumb jokes. This is more or less ironic considering the level of difficulty in executing Beris’ tricks—part of the joke is the effortless or casualness in appearance while understanding the high level of technical proficiency required to make the work. Clearly reveling in the joy of creating illusions alongside his scathing cultural critiques, Beris had to reverse engineer most of the paintings in Fantastic Best Wishes—a consequence of a love for problem solving and prioritizing intuition over autopilot. “You have to wade through sewage before you can swim in clear water.” Adam Beris (b. 1987, Milwaukee, WI) received a dual degree in Painting and Creative Writing from Kansas City Art Institute in 2009. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including Tang Contemporary Art and OTI in Hong Kong, China; Primary in Miami, FL; MCC Longview Cultural Center in Lee’s Summit, MO; The Omaha Creative Institute in Omaha, NE; and OCHI in Los Angeles, CA and Sun Valley, ID. Beris’ work has been featured in publications including e-flux, Hyperallergic, Contemporary Art Review Los Angeles, Miami New Times, Juxtapoz, Hypebeast, and Maake. Beris currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA and is represented by OCHI.
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