For Brooklyn-based artist Mike Perry, pleasure comes in deep waves of paint. With undulating swirls of exuberant color and form, Perry’s new works evoke an intangible experience of visual movement. His latest solo show, Intoxicating Pollen Wiggling in a Moist Journey of Constantly Blooming Tides, opening tonight at Garis & Hahn in New York, invites us to witness a visionary style in flux.
Like Warhol, Perry’s artistic journey began in the world of commercial illustration. His work has appeared as the title animation of Comedy Central’s Broad City, in the magazine Tidal, where he serves as creative director, and even in the pages of Playboy: Since the magazine relaunched in March, his illustrations have accompanied the Playboy Advisor column.
For his second solo show in New York, Perry has assembled a group of large canvases that gravitate toward the nude female form and exude a pure sensation of joy. Matisse once said, “What I dream of is an art of balance, of purity and serenity, devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter, an art which could be for every menial worker, for the businessman as well as the man of letters.” Perry’s work carries over that sensibility across time and space into a technicolor universe of love, nakedness and freedom. The bright compositions are inhabited by beautiful, confident nudes that float, swirl and interact, drawing you in to share in their sublime emotions.
Unlike the fast-paced world of animation or illustration, the gallery provides Perry’s imagery with a place of temporal reverence. Time slows down. Within the stoic exhibition space, Perry’s work breathes.
“I’m always trying to push color further,“ Perry explains. “It’s a journey into color and painting and light and shapes.” The challenge of materializing light on a two-dimensional surface is at the core of Perry’s technical approach. He has developed an intimate understanding of the individual elements of his paintings. For an unfamiliar viewer, the first look is a dive into a shimmering ocean of light. Crazy colors and rolling waves of shape move fluidly across the canvas, reimagining nature as a teeming world of sensory pleasure.
In Perry’s vision, everything is always wiggling. “Light wiggles, paint wiggles, pleasure wiggles, it’s just this silly seemingly inconsequential thing that’s actually really responsible for why we’re all here.” Lucky for us, we have a moment of pause to take it all in.
Mike Perry’s exhibition Intoxicating Pollen Wiggling in a Moist Journey of Constantly Blooming Tides is currently running at Garis & Hahn in New York. More information here.