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Tigers and cobras. Carpets, vases and flowers. Jordan Kerwick explores the interplay between our domestic and symbolic existence, achieving beauty through the unrefined and mistaken, stripping off layers aiming to express truthful imperfection. 

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Born in Melbourne, in 1982, Jordan Kerwick currently lives and works in France. Having started painting in 2016, Kerwick has quickly achieved recognition in the contemporary art world, thanks to his vivid and powerful compositions. 

In Kerwick’s works a variety of influences and symbolic elements blend with one another, creating an image that is both referential and forward-looking. Feeding on a various and heterogeneous imagery, the artist is able to combine his love for beauty, which is often revealed by the attention given to the referential and temporally distant elements, to his everyday life experience, which puts the painter in contact with a multitude of shapes and forms that are absorbed through his visual experience. Kerwick explains how his influences are often derived, besides from the elements of the city, specifically Los Angeles as the artist’s favourite source for inventory, from his life at home with his young family.

More in depth, in Kerwick’s paintings domestic and habitual subjects are merged with themes and compositions that recall the “Vanitas” iconography, allowing the enaction of a dialectical process that gives birth to an interesting and forward-looking aesthetic. Continuously switching from figuration to abstraction, Kerwick is able to simoultaneously speak about his surroundings, when being more figurative and related to the forms of his environment, and about himself, when letting go to the abstraction of concepts, symbols and thoughts.


Jordan Kerwick, From Pantheon to Jubilee Street (the return of Sally Johnson the Risk-Taker), 2019. Mixed media on canvas.


A meeting point between these two elements of the equation, is the roughness and imprecision of the artist’s gesture, which places his work in one of the freshest and most contemporary stages existing nowadays, while creating intuitive connections, relations and dialogues with interesting artistic personas like, for instance, Robert Nava. In a similar, yet detatched and personal way, Kerwick embraces the possibilities that are discovered through the unrefined, the mistaken, working continuosly towards the uncovering of the unexpected, which is often know to appear when taking false turns, when describing a subject in its most imperfect and real state. As the artist states himself: “the more mistakes, the merrier, they add life to a painting and make them interesting and real”- and then again - “Raw. Worn. Beaten, but loved. Life, stripped bare. […] I like to explore beauty in its most organic and real state; stripping back the layers to reveal a subject in its most truthful state”.


Jordan Kerwick, Florentin Confide, 2020. Mixed media on canvas.


Boldness within the brush strokes, yet pristine balance between the combined media. Jordan Kerwick’s paintings are an example of the interesting paths that can be unvealed by imperfection and unexpectedness, when combined with technical matureness and clever balance. Reminding us viewers, once again, about the beauty that is still to be uncovered from the dust. 


Jordan Kerwick, Moon God #1, 2019. Mixed media on canvas.


Jordan Kerwick, A Drawing #7. Marker and ink on paper


Cover image: Jordan Kerwick, I’ll Come Back Again, 2020. Mixed media on canvas

Written by Mario Rodolfo Silva

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