John Meyer - Contemporary Art Part II New York Tuesday, November 9, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    OK Harris, New York; Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot, Nothing You Can Do, by John Meyer addresses the history of male interaction and the fine line between competition and collaboration, potency and aggression. As the title suggests, the viewer is presented with a fatalistic and irrevocable scene. The viewer is directly told that he is a mere witness and that there is nothing he can do. He can only watch as the scene unravels into what has already been predicted. There is an almost unbearable sense of the point of no return having been reached.
    In this series, Meyer builds on his exploration of the “narrative” genre and extends it by developing a pictorial storyline in order to engage the viewer. By painting three separate but related views of the same interaction, Meyer has introduced an element of movement into his art, and innovation he describes as a “cinematic” response to the changing visual paradigm. The brilliance of the work lies in the translation of this sense of “motion picture” into paint. Although he has remained faithful to the broader tradition of western representational art—particularly the use of light—Meyer has refined his approach to realism and, in the process, become a master in the alchemy of paint manipulation.
    But where Meyer’s art differs substantially from the nature of film is that the viewer is invited to project his or her own fantasies into the work and alter the narrative according to the sequence in which the paintings are viewed.“The picture starts taking on a life of its own—it leads you by the nose. The result may not have been your original intention, but it’s very mysterious and satisfying and the wonder is that everyone reacts differently to it.”


Nothing You Can Do I,II & III

Mixed media on canvas.
30 x 36 in. (76.2 x 91.4 cm) each.
Signed "John Meyer" lower center; titled "Nothing You Can Do I, II & III [respectively]" on the reverse.

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $62,500

Contemporary Art Part II

9 November 2010
New York