John Newsom: Rogue Arena


January 11, 2015 – April 18, 2015

Each of John Newsom’s arresting, kaleidoscopic paintings is a visual adventure. The New York-based artist’s super-sized canvases display a dense depiction of life-like animals and vegetation, which sit atop layers of abstract backgrounds comprised of impastoed textures, schizophrenic brushstrokes, and hard-edged, monochrome shapes

A curious hybrid of Charles Darwin, James Rosenquist, and John James Audubon, Newsom’s work flaunts a formal sense of painting with an ironic edge. Newsom, a self-proclaimed naturalist, views animals, plants, and flowers as the core of human existence — the key to reconnecting with one’s own original nature.

Rogue Arena is a bold survey of Newsom’s most recent work. The largest presentation of his oil paintings ever mounted, the exhibition, organized by Mana’s curatorial team, features fourteen characteristically large pieces, all completed within the last decade and drawn primarily from public and private collections around the northeast coast. The show will be displayed in Gallery 888, Mana’s 5,000 square-foot ground-floor exhibition space, and in Mana’s main entrance, where the nine-foot tall Rogue Arena (2014), a new work Newsom created specially for the occasion, will greet visitors upon arrival.

Newsom’s work aims to instill a renewed sense of life by highlighting the enormity of the collective physical world. His eerie, oversized environments of cardinals, wolves, owls, butterflies, and horned chameleons, juxtaposed with backdrops of splattered paint and geometric shapes, put nature center stage, creating an overpowering visual sensation that demands a response. Rogue Arena reveals how Newsom’s fascination with flora and fauna has evolved over the course of his twenty-year career, along with his artistic skill, voice, and distinctive style.

Rogue Arena will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, with a text written by The Nation‘s art critic Barry Schwabsky. Newsom is represented by MARC STRAUS in New York and Patrick Painter Inc. in Los Angeles. 

Press Release

Rogue Arena, 2014
Ancient Skin, 2013
The Great Divide, 2005–2006
For All Ages, 2007–2008
Red Afternoon, 2011–2013
In The Blood, 2011–2013
Gentle Giant, 2011–2014