The Jonestown Massacre and Other Human Mysteries

Friday, February 6th - Saturday, February 28th 2015

Ken Weir

The Jonestown Massacre
Sarah Painting a Rose
Ken Weir offers unusual paintings for his 4th solo show at the Cooperative Gallery. The Jonestown Massacre, a 7 ½’ x 4’ painting revisits a moment we can never forget. On November 18, 1978 the members of Jim Jones’ religious group, the People’s Temple, committed mass suicide by ingesting a cyanide laced drink under orders from their leader, Jim Jones. The painting shows individuals at various moments of contemplating their drink and their fate. Ken Weir explains, “We’re taught that by taking a pill or drinking a potion, we’ll be healed.” The painting doesn’t present a single story, rather it presents nine stories of nine individuals, trusting, yet bullied into a horrible fate.

Other paintings in the February show, also large, depict a girl painting a rose, a mother and daughter, a daughter and father and in one mysterious scene, a thug, a writer and a singer. This is a painting that foreshadows a murder story with two endings—depicted in two additional paintings. The artist hopes to involve the viewer in the creative process of explaining what he/she sees. Weir says, “Modern art has distanced itself from story while pushing the abstract, the shocking, or the hyper-realistic. By bringing mystery and humanity back into art, I hope to bring the viewers into a conversation with the art.” He continues, “Viewers don’t always know how to talk about a purely abstract design, but they can easily agree or disagree with a story or make up their own.”

Weir studied with Paul Georges at the New York Studio School. Georges was an abstract expressionist turned figurative painter who emphasized the drama possible with figurative art.