Redbud Gallery will present On Their Way to Heaven or Hell, individual drawings and recent collaborations between iconic Texas artists Daniel Johnston and Jeff F. Wheeler.
While stylistically dissimilar, Johnston and Wheeler’s drawings converge in ways that make this exhibition and their collaboration a natural fit. They have both developed intuitive, complex visual languages that combine pop and surrealist sensibilities without drawing directly from either. Neither dreamscapes nor iconic appropriations, they instead deal in the psychic space between Bataillean daydreams and Baudrillardian reality, facilitating collisions between a quotidian fantasy world of sex and death in truck-stop hot tubs. They are also both immanently communicative in their rejection of polish and abstraction, which allows the viewer to forego the art-ness of the works to engage fully with the images and their implications. The artists hew to no ideology or artworld fashion, only to their own logic and compulsion to create, to express imaginative cosmologies not yet lost to cool affectation or the dull dance of the resigned. Their drawings, in short, don’t claim anything other than the right to be what they are: honest, modest and unapologetic.
The collaborations were all executed over the last three months and are exhibited for the first time anywhere. Less dialogue than collision, they are the first round of what promises to be an ongoing discordant interplay between two artists whose natural habitats are found in the isolation of markers and charcoal, printer paper and appropriated accounting ledgers.
Following the opening reception, the exhibit will be on display through August 30.