Juan Bolivar Bat out of Hell
17 June — 29 July 2011   Exhibition opening: Thursday 16 June, 6–8 pm

Jacob’s Island Gallery is pleased to announce its inaugural show with a solo exhibition by Venezuelan born artist Juan Bolivar. Bolivar was awarded the gallery’s annual artist in residence program, which culminates with a solo show, the artist’s first in London.

Juan Bolivar’s paintings deconstruct representations, objects and vistas into simplistic geometrical configurations, which convey an essence of the subject matter through a faceted abstraction. For this exhibition ‘Bat Out of Hell’ Bolivar expands his practice by extracting images of abstraction within art history and placing them into his interpreted war scenarios culled from contemporary culture. By incorporating familiar abstract paintings into his work Bolivar comments on the strength of symbols and motifs, which are adopted to express power and freedom.

All the works in the show appropriate notions of conflict, art, abstraction and war, and are rendered in a comic strip or computer game aesthetic which alludes to a participatory engagement of war as a desensitised form of entertainment. This is accentuated by a singular sculpture of a joystick, the object and conceptual control unit presumably used to navigate the vehicles and spaces within the paintings that we are presented with.

The paintings’ titles reference rock music and the age-old tradition of using sound and rhythm to motivate allies and intimidate the enemy. The musical titles examine the relationship between this genre of music and its contentious use during interrogations in Guantanamo Bay, alongside its recent use in ‘home-made’ YouTube war footage depicting American troops going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan to the soundtrack of heavy metal and rock.

Bolivar graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2003, where he received the Warden’s Purchase Prize. Bolivar has been a driving force over the past decade curating nineteen contemporary art exhibitions which have promoted and established many artists of his generation. He was selected for EASTinternational in 2006 by Matthew Higgs and Marc Camille Chaimowicz. In 2008 he was awarded a solo exhibition at John Hansard Gallery, University of Southampton accompanied by an illustrated catalogue which followed from his debut solo show at Lucy Mackintosh Gallery, Lausanne, Switzerland in the same year. His work is in the collections of the Government Art Collection, Ernst and Young, University of the Arts London and Goldsmith College, University of London.

For further details contact [email protected]