lance myers: how to be meaningless in an okay world
December 2, 2023 - January 6, 2024
Ro2 Art is excited to present How to be Meaningless in an Okay World, an exhibition of new paintings by Austin-based artist Lance Myers. The exhibition will open December 2, 2023 and remain on view through January 6, 2024, at Ro2 Art Gallery, located at 2606 Bataan St., Dallas, TX, with an opening reception to be held December 2 from 7-10pm. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Exaggerated, oversized insects inspect the lush floral scenes of Lance Myers’ still lives in his exhibition How to be Meaningless in an Okay World. Myers explores the conventions of Dutch Golden Age still life painting, while subtly reorienting the viewer’s expectations through improbably arranged flowers and magnified, buzzing creatures. In keeping with the traditional still lives of the 17th century, the bouquets of his paintings are set against dramatically dark backgrounds, creating a sharp contrast between the finely rendered details of petals and insect wings and the smooth, inky surroundings. However, these bouquets seem explosive, protruding out of their clear glass vases with dramatic force and filling the frame in an allover composition, akin to some Abstract Expressionist painting. While historically insects symbolize death and decay, in Myers’ paintings they evoke a sense of liveliness, vitality, and exuberance. Counterbalancing the formality and scale of the still life genre, the paintings of How to be Meaningless in an Okay World suggest worlds teeming with sparkling activity, like fireworks against a night sky.
To me the still life feels like a stable, relatively neutral foundation on which to explore stylistic variations of the basic elements of design: color, form, texture, compositional layout, etc. Through such exploration I have found that I am drawn to bright, bold imagery that explodes to fill the canvas. The results are often more reminiscent of monstrous figures, fireworks displays, or battle scenes than static arrangements of fruits and flowers.
The Dutch Baroque painters of still life frequently included insects as symbolic elements. I, too, like to paint tiny creatures. Mine are usually imaginary, sometimes grotesque exaggerations of actual insects injecting an element of surprise and subversion. They act as a kind of counterbalance or foil to the elegance of the florae.
The titles I choose are often bombastic and overwrought, partly to diffuse the formality inherent in the genre, but they also add an additional layer of interest. I’ve always loved what James Rosenquist does with his painting titles.
About the Artist
Lance Myers has been a professional artist, writer, and animator for over twenty-five years. His paintings and films have shown in galleries and museums in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, and are currently represented by Wally Workman Gallery in Austin and Ro2 Gallery in Dallas. His traditional animation can be seen in the feature films Space Jam, Anastasia, Quest for Camelot, Prince of Egypt, and Richard Linklater's A Scanner Darkly; as well as in over twenty successful video game titles, including Turok Evolution, NBA Jam, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. He has also written and directed short subject films for HBO, MTV, Adult Swim, PBS, and Canada's Movieola. Myers lives in Austin with his wife and three kids, and teaches traditional animation at The University of Texas.