Oklahoma Contemporary
Nature's Course installation
Three figures stand in a gallery featuring large-scale paintings featuring tulips, butterflies, wolves, a tiger and more

John Newsom: Nature's Course

John Newsom: Nature's Course

March 24 - Aug. 15, 2022
Eleanor Kirkpatrick Main Gallery

View the Artist Talk here

A painting of a leopard amid tropical plants with a red background
John Newsom, Keep Watch, 2020

Oklahoma Contemporary presented John Newsom: Nature’s Course, a mid-career retrospective, featuring 31 Newsom paintings from the last 20 years.

Focused on the artist’s body of work from the turn of the century to the present, the exhibition presented large-scale paintings from multiple series alongside several more intimate works. The exhibition included the brand-new, 9 x 18 foot Nature’s Course and Homecoming, another new painting referencing Oklahoma. The exhibition of the Oklahoma-raised and New York-based artist ran March 24 to Aug. 15, 2022.

“Growing up as a youth in Oklahoma, I had a yearning to travel and explore the world as a painter,” Newsom said. “Nature’s Course is the culmination of that journey.”

Best known for his richly textured, large-scale oil on canvas paintings of flora and fauna, Newsom’s work layers and combines elements of Abstract Expressionism, minimalist geometric shapes and hyper-realistic representations of animals to create complex allegories of the natural world. Nature’s Course was Oklahoma Contemporary’s first all-painting exhibition since Summer Wheat: Pry the Lid Off in 2016. A fully illustrated catalog accompanied the exhibition.

“With each painting, John Newsom creates a universe of extended metaphors and multivalent narratives,” said Jeremiah Matthew Davis, Oklahoma Contemporary’s artistic director. “With a unique combination of exquisite painterly technique, art historical allusions and rich storytelling, Newsom invites us not just to view his works, but to inhabit them. We’re thrilled to welcome the artist back to Oklahoma for his first mid-career retrospective.”

Originally from Enid, Okla., Newsom has been based in New York for his entire career, participating in more than 100 national and international exhibitions since the mid-1990s. Newsom began to pursue drawing and painting early in his youth, leaving his home state to attend boarding school at Interlochen Arts Academy before completing undergraduate and graduate work in painting at RISD and NYU.

This exhibition is supported by Ken and Mary Ann Fergeson, Flogistix, John and Marsha Funk – Greater OKC Parks & Trails Foundation, Annie Bohanon, The Chickasaw Nation, The Kanady Family, George Records, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital, Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum, Velocigo and Calvert’s Plant Interiors.

Images: Installation view of Nature's Course. Photo: Iasiah Pickens.

John Newsom, Keep Watch, 2020. Oil on canvas. 108 x 84 in. © John Newsom. Photo courtesy John Newsom Studio.


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