James Ayers Scratching the Surface: A journey through the layers. Reception 9/15, 5-7pm. Music: Luke McMurray Nutting. Cocktails: As Above So Below.

James Ayers works in oils, layering thick impasto paint with palette knives, brushes, sprays, and brayer rollers. To give depth and movement to the image, he uses techniques such as scumbling (dragging paint with a brush across the canvas), sgraffito (scratching out wet paint to expose the underpaint colors), splattering, and intentional drips of paint. Ayers often applies graphite and crayon atop the finished work to amplify the visual impact.


The secret to his work, though, is the balance of planning and execution with a playful openness to unconventional approaches. All colors, shapes, and textures have a purpose and work together to create something intentional. Leave out something critical, and a piece falls flat. Add something extraneous, and the viewing becomes an inauthentic experience. Ultimately it’s the unrestrained freedom that allows Ayers to elevate his paintings with energy and spirit.


In this exhibition,  Ayers explores the intersection of urban and wild, human-made and nature-made, past and present, with juxtapositions of media that feel like commentary. In places, layers are created and deconstructed, exposing a thick carpet of content just below. In other places, serenity is interrupted with overlays that build new paths of understanding that can be surprising. With these non-conformist visual statements comes a newly invented scape full of possibilities and contemplation.