Joel Mesler: In the Beginning - Lévy Gorvy

Viewing Room

Joel Mesler: In the Beginning

Opening 23 June 2021

Ground Floor, 2 Ice House Street
Central, Hong Kong


Lévy Gorvy is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Joel Mesler, to open on 23 June 2021. Joel Mesler: In the Beginning will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in Asia.

Deploying both words and images, Mesler draws from childhood memories and life experiences, to make paintings that bring his private impressions into close contact with cultural touchstones and elements of universal human consciousness. The works on view in In the Beginning are composed with boldly stylized patterns that represent leaves of banana trees and other plants, along with animal forms, pools of water, and the sun. In subject and style, the tropical flora and fauna of the paintings bring to mind both the imagined jungles of Paul Gauguin and Henri Rousseau, and such iconic forms of mid-20th-century decorative arts as printed wallpaper depicting exotica. To these scenes, Mesler adds phrases rendered in script, experimenting with letter formation and its integration into his compositions.

Mesler conceived of these paintings by reflecting on the nocturnal reveries and dreamscapes of his childhood. As he recollects: “The paintings come out of the memories of nights my parents would go out for the evening. They would usually tuck me into my bed and kiss me goodnight, my mom leaving red lipstick residue smudged on my cheek. As I would fall asleep, all these elements would swirl through my mind as I hit REM. Their parting words to me, ‘Honey, you deserve great things’ and ‘The world is yours,’ and the animals in my wallpaper would meet with the furs of my mother’s jackets, the colors of their clothes and the smells of their perfume and cologne. I often thought about what my parents were doing as the night went on. I knew they did things, but I didn’t really have the language yet to describe them. The paintings in this show are my dreamscapes as my parents and I moved through the night.”

In the Beginning will be complemented by editions based upon three works from the exhibition. These editions will be offered exclusively by Lévy Gorvy, at the gallery’s location in Hong Kong and on its website. Mesler will also collaborate with fashion brand IZZUE to release limited-edition clothing and accessories featuring images drawn from the paintings on view in In the Beginning. The apparel will be available at I.T Hong Kong and Beijing starting 26 June.

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