PAST. 26/8–9/10/2021.

The exhibition Surfing the Apocalypse sees the culmination of the American-Swedish artist Johnathan Daily’s retrospective at Galleri Duerr, initiated earlier this year with his exhibition Prelude. Having brought together a wide range of Daily’s artworks spanning over two decades, we see a multifaceted artistic practice focused on oil painting. A stubborn yet unruly group of works has been revealed, one that defies any urge to settle on a specific style or concept. In this exhibition, we also present nearly the entire series of large-scale paintings entitled Black Rainbows.

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Despite Daily’s artistic practice exhibiting constant flux, there are nonetheless visual characteristics that appear over time. One aspect is the entanglement of logical order and creative disorder. In drawing upon chaos theory and its links with Eastern philosophy, Daily has continuously searched for in-between states where the concepts of logic and chaos merge into a creative force. A clear example is the painting Pink Frost (2018), which disguises complex systems beneath its semi-chaotic lines.

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Paralleling this logical tussle towards artistic freedom is another series that clearly stands out within Daily’s production. The Corporeal series consists of smaller paintings created primarily between the years 2010-2012, in which Daily explores links between physical and emotional reactions to sensory phenomena. These paintings set out to meld together sensations such as disgust, hunger, lust, and phobia into single images. Resulting in hyperrealistic motifs of non-identifiable objects, these images often leave the beholder with more questions than answers, all manifested in an outspoken, surrealistic manner.

Centrally placed in the main exhibition space, the Black Rainbow series sees its premiere. Through the employment of intricate layering techniques, these paintings cause spectral colours to shift spatially according to lighting conditions. This exhibition top-lights these works to highlight their motifs, which otherwise verge on submerging into seductive blackness. With such interactive qualities, they aim to test the limits of our perception as they encourage the beholder to use their own movements to approach the rainbowness of these tantalizing works.

Johnathan Daily (b. 1974) is an American-Swedish artist who lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. He attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where he received his BFA in Fine Arts in 1999. Prior to that, he studied at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and the University of Wisconsin. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the United States, among them Hallsbergs Konsthall, Galleri Jonas Kleerup, Liljevalchs Vårsalong, Örebro Open Art, Galleri Duerr and Dramaten and Elverket for UNESCO.