IN THE TOOLS REMAIN
“Derek Ayres’ new watercolors have something to do with the concept of ‘personal archeology’ and a feeling of his mortality, or at least the mortality of his own culture. Parallel to the gods of ancient Greece or Rome, the gods of his 13-year-old self walked the earth: Jimmy Page, Ace Frehley, Angus Young. And just like the ancient gods, only a few artifacts remain. Often only the tools that created the statues and the artworks that survive. The chisel and palette outlast the woodcut and watercolor. And so, the sturdy amplifiers, the solid body guitars, at this point, may outlive the music itself. These are the bygone symbols — the crumbling Parthenon, the half-buried statue, the found spear tip — that will have future generations collecting and valuing, and pondering their meaning and significance. Perhaps entirely divorced from the music, which may cease to exist in any usable form after repeated technological paradigm shifts. But these are not tributes to the gods, these are the tools of the gods themselves. The art and the gods are gone. But the tools remain.
These paintings are the equivalent of finding a feather from Shakespeare’s pen, or an obscure piece of Kepler’s telescope at a construction site and thinking that at one time, people worshipped birds and pieces of polished glass were buried with royalty. The meaning is lost, but the gods live on, separated from their true meaning, and perpetuated through history with misunderstood symbols.” — ROBERT FANELLI, July 2021
Locked-down, my fellow shut-ins and I were picking up the guitar and playing board games to fortify domestic life in the wake of Zoom meetings and virtual classrooms. I stayed inside and starting making fake plein air watercolors, populating pastoral landscapes with my beloved vintage amps. I am painting 20 of them. Come take a look.
About the Artist
Derek Ayres is a Texas-born visual artist raised in suburbia on rock ‘n’ roll, fed BBQ, and infused with a can-do DIY spirit that informs his work to this day. His wide-ranging studio practice spans drawing, painting, sculpture, digital art, and now, watercolor. Focused on both craft and concept, he produces objects and images that mix realism and irony while layering metaphors and symbols. His work offers the viewer a portal into themes of subversion, isolation, nature, performance, wonder, beauty, and redemption. His past exhibits include shows at Southgate Studios in London, Gallerie Unwahr in Berlin, and P.P.O.W. in New York. His New York debut show at ZieherSmith was short-listed in the New York Times. Derek holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University in New York and as an undergraduate at Rutgers University in New Brunswick was awarded first prize in an exhibition juried by sculptor George Segal. Derek is thrilled for his first art exhibition in Philadelphia, debuting a new series of watercolors as part of the Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2021 at See Here Now Gallery, a weekend pop-up in East Kensington.
Appropriate for all ages.