In collaboration with Cultural Counsel, Sotheby’s S|2 is pleased to present Fish People, a pop-up exhibition of new paintings from The Estate of Joel Mesler at The Surf Lodge in Montauk. On view will be a selection of ten paintings by the artist-dealer, each of which responds to the cultural history of the sea, New York’s annual migration to Long Island resort towns and vacation induced identity shifts. With his trademark wit and idiosyncratic figurative style, Mesler presents a body of work that is both as vacant and generous as a long weekend by the beach.
Composed on raw linen with an economy of gesture and palette, the subjects of these nuanced paintings float in isolation. In one painting, a grinning man wears a shirt emblazoned “Down and Out in Montauk,” a nod to Orwell seemingly at odds with the comfort radiating from the painting. Elsewhere, Mesler references nautical history, pairing a reduced seascape with a seafaring rhyme and the submerged outline of Melville’s white whale. Across this body of work, it becomes clear that the sea itself is not the subject, but rather how we encounter it. This sentiment is most clear in Untitled (I’m moonlighting), which depicts a figure in a canoe at night, drawing as he drags a paintbrush through the water. The painting reads, “I’m moonlighting”, a reminder of the Mesler’s role as both a painter and an art dealer, a dichotomy that has historically existed in the careers of art world characters from Marcel Duchamp to Maurizio Cattelan.
Joel Mesler was born in 1974 in Los Angeles, California. He currently lives and works in New York. Mesler received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the San Francisco Art Institute. Earlier this year Mesler’s work was featured in a solo booth at the NADA Art Fair in New York. Since opening his first gallery Dianne Pruess in Los Angeles in 2000, he has worked as both an artist and an art dealer. He has operated several galleries over the past two decades, including Rental in Los Angeles and New York, Untitled in New York and Retrospective in Hudson, New York. He currently co-owns the gallery Feuer/Mesler located on the Lower East Side in New York City.
HOURS OF OPERATION:
S|2 at The Surf Lodge
183 Edgemere St
Montauk, NY 11954
21 – 28 July 2016
11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
S|2 is Sotheby’s Contemporary art gallery, offering year-round exhibition programming and bespoke private sales.
With dedicated gallery space in New York, London and Hong Kong, S|2 presents selling exhibitions exploring the work of celebrated artists, such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Yayoi Kusama, Frank Stella and Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne, as well as shows curated by influential art world figures like Vito Schnabel.