Joe Brainard, Jess, John O'Reilly

Selected Works

December 2, 2010 – January 8, 2011

Press Release

The Tibor de Nagy Gallery is pleased to present a selection of works by the three singular artists. Using the quintessentially modernist form, collage, the artists create odd interminglings and fantastic juxtapositions. The works share an aesthetic sensibility that weaves together elements of erotic sensuality with sentiments that range from boisterous humor to tender poignancy.

Joe Brainard (1942-1994), who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and moved to New York in 1960, is best known for his small scale works on paper and collages. Although he counted among his friends Pop artists such as Andy Warhol, his works are often humorous and earnest, in contrast to the cool detachment of much of the Pop art of the period. His collages and drawings combine a technical skill and gift for composition along with seemingly endless invention and imagination. Brainard’s work is in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Jess (1923-2004), born Burgess Collins in Long Beach, California, was a leading light of the San Francisco art scene from the 1950s until his death in 2004. He was a quietly independent artist whose work developed a complex synthesis of art and literary history. His collages, which he referred to as “paste-ups,” are complicated surrealist compositions assembled using magazines, photographs, and any other material at hand. For decades known mostly to the cognoscenti, in recent years his works have received attention from a younger generation attuned to his interests in far-ranging mythologies, transformative narrative, and the appropriation of images.

John O’Reilly (b. 1930), who was born in suburban New Jersey though he has spent most of his life living and working in Massachusetts, creates photomontages which depict fantasy worlds and dreamscapes. The sophisticated compositions are often richly imbued with the art historical references for which the artist displays a loving fascination. Having studied painting at Syracuse University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his work is included in the collections of numerous museums, among them the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.