Projects

Jordy Kerwick, Learn to Feel Again – Frieze Week 2022

Jordy Kerwick, Untitled, 2022, Acrylic, Oil Paint, Spray Paint on Canvas, 100 x 80 cm

Jordy Kerwick
Learn to Feel Again
Floreat House

Friday 14 October – Saturday 3 December

Modern Forms, in collaboration with Vigo Gallery, is delighted to present, Learn to Feel Again, a new suite of works by Australian artist Jordy Kerwick, unveiled to coincide with Frieze Week.

Especially conceived for display within the ornately panelled Ballroom and Music Room at Floreat House, Mayfair where highlights of the Modern Forms collection are hung.

The new cycle of paintings transport the viewer into Keriwck’s distinctive and extraordinarily popular visual universe. Populated by a menagerie of strange and mythological creatures, rendered with naive verve, it is a world of fantasy and play.

Modern Forms, in collaboration with Vigo Gallery, is delighted to present, Learn to Feel Again, a new suite of works by Australian artist Jordy Kerwick, unveiled to coincide with Frieze Week.

Especially conceived for display within the ornately paneled Ballroom and Music Room at Floreat House, Mayfair where highlights of the Modern Forms collection are hung.

The new cycle of paintings transport the viewer into Keriwck’s distinctive and extraordinarily popular visual universe. Populated by a menagerie of strange and mythological creatures, rendered with naive verve, it is a world of fantasy and play.

Jordy Kerwick, Untitled, 2022, Acrylic, Oil Paint, Spray Paint on Canvas, 100 x 80 cm

Extracts from Modern Forms’ Q&A with Jordy Kerwick:

NH: I last saw your works in the flesh at your exhibition staged by Vigo Gallery at Wellington Arch. Your visual universe now feels really powerfully familiar to me, with its really distinctive characters, tropes and style. How long has this universe existed? 

JK: Well, the universe started taking shape and the characters started emerging, I guess, around the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. I started drawing things, which I didn’t, at that time, make into large works back in, maybe 2017, but then I was just in the rut of making still life paintings. I mean, I loved it, but when I was planning for a show, at that time, the gallery would have an expectation of what the show would look like, and I knew I could paint the still life works pretty well, so I just kept painting them, and I didn’t have the balls to execute some of the more interesting stuff! Which is what the paintings now are.

NH: Can you tell me about the recurring double head motif in your work?

JK: Yes! The double heads all started when I was playing around with my sons, drawing stuff. A lot of my work comes out of trying to draw cool stuff for my sons, and trying to stay young in the process [Laughs]. Three and four-year olds aren’t that interested in flowers, but if you draw a snake, a cobra or a tiger, then, whoa! Now we’re talking! So I’d be drawing one scary creature for one of my sons and then the other one would want one too. That kept on going for a while, which was fine, and then at one point I just couldn’t be bothered so I just put two heads on this drawing of a cobra and said to them, that’s you, and that’s your brother. [Laughs] Sunny’s always on the right, and Milo’s the left.

NH: Do they have favorite characters?  Tigers, snakes or unicorns?

JK: They’re so nonchalant about it! I would say Milo prefers the more pretty things, like unicorns and stuff like that, whereas Sunny has more of a darker side. But really, to be completely honest, they don’t really give a shit about what I make! They’re so used to being surrounded by art, being dragged into galleries and museums, and having paintings all over the place at home, I wouldn’t be surprised  if they become scientists or something and  choose to have nothing to do with art [Laughs]. 

NH:  Well your work is attracting a lot of love at the moment and suspect the attention will be enduring…. I’d like to hear a bit more about some of the characters. We’ve got the cobras, and we’ve got these [pointing at figures in a painting] animated Mexican wrestling mask-like forms… Who or what are they in your head? Are they evil?

JK:     No, I don’t think so. I feel like they’re ‘monster-y’ but happy. It’s weird because my eldest son is obsessed with the role of the anti-hero, and I kind of feel like they’re the cool anti-heroes in the paintings. It’s like in Star Wars I’ve always liked the stormtroopers the most. The masks don’t have malicious intent, but there’s something like a slightly threatening grimace about them… I think there’s a lot of darkness hidden behind the colourful surfaces of some of these paintings. 

NH:    Do you ever construct, for yourself at least, narratives in the compositions?

JK:    Yeah, sometimes. It’s clearer in some of the drawings. In the ones I am making at the moment there are always several characters and there’s a level of imagined interaction and discussion, responses, at times, to things that have happened to me.

View the Collection

Emma Hart, Me Me Me Me Me, 2017

Charles Harlan, Firewood, 2016

Charles Harlan, Concrete, 2014

Hannah Perry, Out of Memory, 2015