OMNI is pleased to present Jon Burgerman’s newest exhibition, Sim City, a collection of maximalist, highly saturated works in his iconic visual language. Sim City showcases eight large new aerosol paintings on canvas alongside 19 works on paper and an eye-bleeding immersive video installation. Burgerman’s instantly distinctive characters, which feel freshly painted, and candy-flavoured hues examine the paradoxes of contemporary life. The works suggest overpopulated urban environments, where space is at a premium and the characters vie for attention. Displaying a wide spectrum of emotions across their inhabitants, the seemingly upbeat compositions propose that despite the need for company and to be recognised, many of the forms are disconnected and even isolated.
This striking collection, created at the start of the year, is influenced by a wide range of artists and movements, including the jazzy compositions of Stuart Davis, the playfulness of expression of Jean Dubuffet and the loose gestural mark making of Cy Twombly, particularly in the dryly titled ‘Cry Twombly’, 2023. Animation and 90’s video games also strike inspiration for Burgerman, as evidenced in the smeared facial expressions (smearing images is a technique to suggest movement in animation) and flat 2D plains that make up each composition, such as in ‘Parklife’, 2023 and ‘Upstairs Downstairs’, 2023. The title Sim city is a reference to the seminal 1990’s city building simulator game of the same name by Will Wright. Burgerman considers parallels between game playing and world building with art making and to the simulations we necessitate for ourselves in our everyday lives.
“I want to make expressive and open works, where the viewer can not only play with narrative strands suggested by the characters and forms, but also emotionally connect with the textures, colours and very fabric of the painting itself.” – Jon Burgerman 2023
NEW YORK, USA Jon Burgerman (b. 1979 UK) is a New York-based British artist whose works have been acquired by prestigious public collections such as London's Victoria and Albert Museum and the OÖ-Kultur museum in Linz, Austria. His art has been described by critics as “bright, and intuitive, focused on the visceral energy of play as a tenet of communication” (Cate McQuaid, The Boston Globe, July 2021). Burgerman’s highly distinctive fuzzy-edged characters in day-glo bright pinks, yellows, greens, and blues epitomise the paradoxes of contemporary life. Their seemingly simple googly eyes betray a range of emotional complexities and anxieties, with comically distressed expressions and collapsing forms underlined by titles such as Xanax, Dualist, Fortitude and Chameleon (2022). Each of Burgerman’s paintings reveals a studied balance of contrasts: hazy, indistinct huddles and isolated, lonely forms; crude graffitied marks versus fluid, soft forms achieved with an aerosol can. Improvised rhythms informed by electronic music permeate his works, creating staccato visual melodies that allow each work to perform satisfactorily to both eye and ear in a continuum of Miró and Kandinsky. In the same vein as Keith Haring, Burgerman has developed a new visual language all of his own, painting with a hitherto unknown simplicity and captivating optimism that allows his subjects to establish a remarkable immediacy and intimacy with his viewers. His artistic influences include a wide range of artists and movements, including early 20th century animation and abstract expressionism. He is also influenced by the work of the pop art movement, which he references in the way he uses everyday objects, characters, and images in his work. Overall, Burgerman's work is a reflection of his unique perspective on the world, and his ability to combine elements from different artistic traditions to create something new and exciting. He continuously challenges societal norms, and encourages the viewer to look at the world in new and unexpected ways. It's his belief that simple creative acts can allow people to change not only their world but the world around them.
Established in London in 2022, OMNI represents a diverse roster of multidisciplinary modern and contemporary artists. Cultivating a vibrant community of established and emerging artists, collectors, and enthusiasts, OMNI works directly with talent to provide clients with unique access to artworks over the progression of their careers. In addition to fostering collaborative relationships with artists, the gallery’s innovative exhibition programming underlines its driving principle: to serve as an international artistic platform inclusive of all forms of media. This independent approach is further emboldened by OMNI’s partnerships across industries, engaging its worldwide audience through carefully curated collaborations and experiences.
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