Contemporary Art

John Copeland

United States 1976

John Copeland
John Copeland
United States
November 30, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

John Copeland is an American artist who creates paintings using predominantly acrylics and oils. He seeks to translate his questions about the obvious but silenced and awkward moments of life into captivating large-scale paintings

Born and raised in California, he went on to pursue his passion for painting at the California College of the Arts and Crafts, and in 1998 he received his BFA . After graduation, Copeland migrated east from his home state of California to set up shop in New York City.

As someone who explores tension and strain in his work, Copeland said when it comes to personally dealing with uncomfortable situations, “I’m not sure if I’m any better at it than anyone else is. But tension in a moment between people doesn’t necessarily always mean discomfort.” The ambiguous, bizarre dialogue in Copeland’s work drips off the canvas to give the viewer a sensation of pandemonium and distortion, as if they are just waking up to find themselves surrounded by strange chaos and the unexplainable. Other times, the viewer may feel like a voyeur, as they are exposed to glimpses of nude figures interacting, committing acts of sexuality that are both sensual and violent, without either the knowledge or the care that they are being watched by an outsider’s eye.

Over the course of his practice Copeland has developed an aesthetic that observes realism through the lens of abstraction. “I can paint and draw very realistically, but that’s not really what I’m after and it’s not what I like in paintings. It’s too straight,” he said. “I’m more interested in using the language of painting and working with the edge of abstraction, working with the push and pull of paint, image, readability, and texture.” The collected pools, globs, and drips of paint within Copeland’s work have a fascinating impact that creates tension, which acts like a visual and conceptual muscle spasm. Every piece jerks from side to side in an exhausting and constant ache, as a pure reflection of the way the undesired but necessary moments of life must take place.

John Copeland lives and works in New York.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014Electric - John CopelandV1 Gallery, CopenhagenSolo
2014The Brask CollectionMunkeruphus, DronningmølleGroup
2013Get in the Corner JesusRobert Bills Contemporary, Chicago, ILSolo
2013John Copeland - All We Ever Wanted Was EverythingGalerie Alex Daniels / Reflex Amsterdam, AmsterdamSolo
2013Chicken Or Beef? A Transcontinental Survey Of Figurative PaintingThe Hole NYC, New York City, NYGroup
2013Bad Painting . John Copeland & Katherine BernhardtV1 Gallery at Spinnerei . Leipzig, GermanyDuo
2013Volta Basel 9V1 Gallery . Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2013Summer ReadingThe Hole . New York, NYGroup
2012You'll Never Be The SameGalleria Marabini, BolognaSolo
2012Answers To Questions I Never AskedV1 Gallery, CopenhagenSolo
2012V1x - Tonight We Wont Be BoredV1 Gallery, CopenhagenGroup
2012Hell RaisersGalerie les filles du calvaire - Paris, ParisGroup
2012Wonder Works – Master Works from Private Danish CollectionsThe Museum Of Modern Art Aalborg, DenmarkGroup
2011What's He Building in There?Fuse Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011SongsFuse Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2011Status - Somewhere Between Position And ConditionV1 Gallery, CopenhagenGroup
2011I am who I am. The Portrat ReconsideredSteven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2010John Copeland: Times of GraceGalerie Alex Daniels / Reflex Amsterdam, AmsterdamSolo
2010High LifeV1 Gallery, CopenhagenSolo
2010Dirty Old TownVolta with V1 Gallery . New York, NYSolo
2010August Group ShowGuerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2010Big PicturePriska C. Juschka Fine Art, New York City, NYGroup
2010AlbumV1 Gallery, CopenhagenGroup
2009Old GloryNicholas Robinson Gallery . New York, NYSolo
2009The New YorkersV1 Gallery, CopenhagenGroup
2008The Boys Are Back In TownV1 Gallery, CopenhagenGroup
2008Sex, Drugs, and Rock + RollSteven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2008StrangefolksAllston Skirt Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2007A.K.AFette's Gallery, Culver City, CAGroup
2007We are nearAllston Skirt Gallery, Boston, MAGroup
2007Personal EffectsFette's Gallery, Culver City, CAGroup
2006John Copeland - undercurrents31 Grand, New York City, NYSolo
2006Grand UnionFront Room Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2005John Copeland | Nicola LópezIrvine Contemporary, Washington, DCGroup
2004John Copeland - moonshiner31 Grand, New York City, NYSolo
2003ScratchCAM - Chelsea Art Museum, New York City, NYGroup
2003Assembly Front Room Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2003I Walk the Line31 Grand, New York City, NYGroup
2002Dime BagNew Image Art Gallery, West Hollywood, CAGroup