“We had to present some artists in class today and one of the ones I did was myself.
I told everyone it was because I’m fucking important.”
Since meeting Jeremy almost three years ago I think I’ve always had an affinity for not only his work but also his sincerity in attitude. Like Larry David in New York City or a permanent Serra installation, Jeremy is as Jeremy wills it and his artwork reflects that sentiment.
“I think most of my ideas are pretty simple, kinda dumb.”
As we in the arts know, sometimes the best ideas start out simplistic and lead to questions formulating some interesting if not even genius discoveries in artistic concepts and processes. In the past three years working on his MFA in painting at the University of Houston, Jeremy has been committed to an idea that painting’s foundations lie in language and syntax but are erected on shifting sands of subjectivity and constant syntactical change and error.
Jeremy DePrez may never claim to write poetry but I believe his paintings approach poetics in their ability to visually reinterpret painting’s history of its own “language” in a dialectic balancing act usually relegated to poetry rather than canvas. In one of his newest works, Jeremy places items on the floor in front of a painting then replaces them in likened perspective on the canvas above in oil paint:
Reinterpreting his figures through a Baudrillardian lens, I am left questioning which Vader is more authentic, more actual. Then I realize I’m having a serious internal philosophical dialogue about a Pez dispenser based on a cariacture of a candy machine depicting a fictional super villain from one of modern society’s greatest hero stories told by George Lucas. Then I laugh.
Jeremy’s quick gesture of a Vader Pez dispenser breaks down the historical weight of grand scale painting and brings it figuratively and literally back down to earth with wit and humor. What I love about Jeremy’s work is that there’s always a moment for me where I chuckle a little under my breath, like I get the inside joke.
Jeremy also makes sculpture, drawings, small paintings, and installations that all are similarly imbued with an underlying magnetic humor and alluring conceptual component:
Eulogy for Victor Pesce, oil on canvas
A small drawing I found next to a Dr. Seuss book.
Influenced by artists like Rachel Hecker, Erwin Wurm, Michael Krebber, Richard Aldrich, and Raoul De Keyser, Jeremy has built up a visual dialogue with ephemera and its preservation by adhering to and dismissing simulacra. I just wonder if in his later years we will find him with markers in his nose like Erwin before him.
Sometimes seen as haphazard or flippant in nature, I think Jeremy’s work is anything but clinical or uncaring. Maybe I know him all too well, but I think he’s a romantic deep down, which can best be seen in his installation Voltron rides an asteroid on top of 5 copies of More Adventures in Space and Time:
There is a thoughtfulness in this piece I want to hold on to, like a ticket stub to a movie I saw with someone wonderful. What I also love about this work is that it reminds me of Jeremy awake at 4AM in the studio blaring Hall and Oates’ Kiss On My List while eating powdered donuts.
Be sure to check out Jeremy’s Thesis Show coming up at The Blaffer Museuem at the University of Houston starting April 22nd. For dates and times click here.
You can also follow Jeremy’s blog here.
Thank you to Jeremy DePrez for sharing your time and thoughts with me, and for being a pretty dope friend.
Next week I will visit Rice University, until then thank you for reading.