My work explores systems: their creation, control, use and experience of them.

In 1994 I became interested in human interaction with technology and nonlinear information. Much of my work that followed dealt with the internet and code. My investigations made me increasingly intrigued with the relationships between perception and coded language. I began to explore the organization and chaos of complex systems, including tax evasion, the metaverse, money laundering, sock puppets and astroturfing, identity theft, the technological singularity, and most recently waste, urbanism, pathogens and poisons. My interpretations of these kinds of information spaces are motivated by my daily visual intake and life experiences.

Infrastructures, global warming and climate change, identity, crime, consumerism, misinformation, semantics, sociology, pollution, overpopulation, war, pandemics- these are some of the topics that drive my thinking and production of my work.


Artist statement for “In Between” solo exhibition at Robert Henry Contemporary
Sept 8 through Oct 22, 2017

This exhibition represents a continuation and evolution of my Asvirus body of work, in materials, concepts and visual vernacular. In 1999 and later in 2007 I titled three pieces (IN)BETWEEN which were part of a series named Order and Chaos. These pieces set early groundwork for my Asvirus series in the sense that they were about cities and complexities within them. This fictionalized in-between or nonplace is a grey area, a topic not clearly one thing or the other, and open to interpretations. These are spaces of uncertainty or intermediacy. Even moreso now than in ‘99, most of us exist with one foot, or more, in virtual space. I’m interested in the further digitization of life and the technological divide and/or singularity. Human interaction with technology, organic/digital dualities, has been something I’ve remained intrigued with, for well over a decade. The new drawings in this this exhibition begin to resurge these thoughts. There is an in-between space where viewers can get a feeling, some type of emotional response, idea, thought, or lingering-mood that they may not completely understand but sticks with them in the back of their minds seeping into consciousness or dreams. I’d like this work to live in an in- between space to be revisited over time.

Artist statement for “Convenient Gratification” solo exhibition at Robert Henry Contemporary
May 30 through June 29, 2014

I’m constantly evolving the array of forms/elements within the visual language I use throughout my work. Each element is not intended to have a singular or literal interpretation. For example, dense amorphous void like shapes represent cancer, glaciers, particles, pathogens, black holes, islands, etc.. These elements are more so often than not, intended to express intrusive dominating and destructive foreign bodies, however, in the same breath they can and should be viewed as neutral and peaceful entities. This type of duality, contradiction and conflict permeates through the work. There is an intended unfinished quality to the drawings. My aim is to imply a sense of growth and/or movement. I leave the work “unfinished” whereby lines that are not actually made, but still yet, a viewers mind may subconsciously make a leap visualizing them, even though the marks are not present.

I naturally gravitated towards using ink because I enjoy how it sits on paper, its permanence and because I don’t sketch or plan out anything, for the most part, prior to applying ink to paper I revel in the decisiveness and confidence of the mark-making by this process. More than anything else I simply enjoy working with the medium immensely. Through a process of elimination and trial and error I found myself simplifying the mediums I was choosing to work with. What started out as an exercise in restraint ultimately turned into an approach that intuitively felt right for this body of work. The work is done primarily with rollerball pen refills. The immediacy of working with common place office supplies has intrigued me for many years and it just so happens that I found a pen that comes with acid free light-fast ink inside.

Through a process of elimination and experimentation over time, I arrived at using the specific blue color and type of ink for these drawings. Initially it was a very fluid decision because I wanted to break away from solely using a color palette of black, white and grey that the first few works in this series were created in. What began as a technical problem I was attempting to solve turned into a solution of simplification and restraint that met both my conceptual and technical needs in achieving a dense, diverse, rich and layered look.


BIO

Derek Lerner (b.1974), is an NYC-based artist whose work explores systems: their creation, control, use and experience of them. Lerner's abstract ink on paper drawings co-mingle representations of human-made and natural systems and the tensions between those forces. From an aerial vantage point, his compositions grow, line by line, through an additive, extemporaneous process into fictional spaces that juxtapose these systems, signs, and symbols. They encompass dualities that vacillate between micro and macro scales, dark and light, creation and destruction, human-made and nature-made; functioning as metaphors for ambivalence. In 2015 New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority commissioned Lerner to create permanent public art for the Avenue X subway station on the F train, IND Culver Line in Brooklyn. He has exhibited worldwide and his work is represented by New York gallery, Robert Henry Contemporary.


CV

EDUCATION

1995
B.F.A, Atlanta College of Art

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2017
In Between, Robert Henry Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY
42°33'00.51" N 70°52'33.57" W, Curated by Leonie Bradbury, Montserrat Galleries - Carol Schlosberg Alumni Gallery, Beverly, MA

2016
VOLTA12, Robert Henry Contemporary, Markthalle, Basel, Switzerland

2015
VOLTA NY, Robert Henry Contemporary, New York, NY

2014
Convenient Gratification, Robert Henry Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY

2012
RHV Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY

2003
ONEHUNDREDEIGHT Freestyle Drawings On Cardboard, Tomoya Saito Gallery, Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan

2001
Ecko Unltd showroom, New York, NY
DL27 SHOWROOM, New York, NY

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017
Points of Departure; Meditations on Mapping, Mercer Gallery (Monroe Community College), curated by Colleen Buzzard and Karen Sardisco, Rochester, NY
INTERFERENCE, Bullet Space, curated by Alexandra Rojas, New York, NY
Abstract Art in Dialogue, NYSID Gallery and organized by The Central Academy of Fine Arts, Co-curated by Dr. Zhijian Qian and Dr. Yu Ding, New York, NY

2016
PULSE - Contemporary Art Fair, Robert Henry Contemporary, Miami, FL

2015
Brooklyn Bridge, Rochester Contemporary Art Center, Rochester, NY

2012
The 15 Year Anniversary Retrospective, Young Blood Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Mapping the Equivocal, Robert Henry Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY

2010
Select Media Festival 9: Infoporn II, Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago, IL
2010 Conflux Festival, 5 block radius surrounding NYU’s Barney Building, New York, NY
FAD Digital Arts Festival, Quina Galeria, Edificio Maleta, downtown Belo Horizonte , Brazil
August 7 screening, Berkeley Commonplace, Berkeley, CA
Draw, Museo de la Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico

2009
Draw, Shooting Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2008
Connected Unconscious, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY
Draw, StolenSpace Gallery, London, UK

2007
Our Space CREAM 5th Anniversary, Kapok, Hong Kong
Draw as part of the SXSW Music-Film + Interactive Festival, Gallery Lombardi, Austin, Texas

2006
Draw, Fuse Gallery, New York, NY
Invitational Alumni Exhibition, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL

2005
FUFI FUFI, TypeStereo & Freegums mobile gallery, Art Basel, Miami, FL
Job 36:1, GH avisualagency collaboration 222gallery, Philadelphia, PA
My Moleskine, Tsutaya Tokyo Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan
TRAFIC, Centre d’exposition de Val-d’Or, Val-d’Or (Québec)
WE BARTER, Life In a Box Project, Fabrica Features, Hong Kong

2003
BLING, Derek Lerner and Tom Sanford, 31GRAND, Brooklyn, NY

2002
the big group show, M3Projects Gallery, Graphic Havoc collaboration, New York, NY
SK8 ON THE WALL, Graphic Havoc collaboration, Gallery Rocket, Tokyo, Japan
XHAND, 222gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Coded Language, City Gallery Chastain, Atlanta, GA
VERSION>02, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

2001
Looser Graffiti, FAXWARS collaboration, YoungBlood Gallery, Atlanta, GA
ARKITIP EXHIBITION002, Graphic Havoc collaboration, alife, New York, NY
Krylon and Beyond 2, YoungBlood Gallery, Atlanta, GA

1999
transparent horizons, MACHINE collaboration, NEXUS Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA

1995
Senior Exhibition, The Atlanta College of Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Drawing, gallery 100, Atlanta, GA

1994
Printmaking, Gallery 100, Atlanta, GA

COMMISSIONS

2015
AVEX(station), Permanent Public Art, MTA Arts & Design, Avenue X station (F train, IND Culver Line), Six 48" x 150" multi-panel laminated glass compositions, Brooklyn, NY

BIBLIOGRAPHY

2017
Derek Lerner on His Drawings Show in Bushwick at Robert Henry Contemporary By Noah Becker, WHITEHOT Magazine, October

2015
Spatial preoccupations “Brooklyn Bridge” By Rebecca Rafferty, Rochester City Newspaper, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT, September 9
Derek Lerner and Bleu Cease. ROCO “Brooklyn Bridge” exhibition. Interview. WUHF Good Day Rochester. Fox Rochester. September 4. Television
Brooklyn Bridge art exhibit at RoCo by Robin L. Flanigan, Democrat & Chronicle, September 6

2014
ARTSEEN "DEREK LERNER Convenient Gratification" by Taney Roniger, "The Brooklyn Rail", July

2007
Interview with Derek Lerner, “Our Space”, CREAM No. 08, Hong Kong, October

2004
GH avisualagency, London, Booth-Clibborn Editions, ISBN 1861542682
MAN VS. MACHINE by Graphic Havoc, “Technology”, BIG No. 51, New York

2003
Übersee 2, “From Surface into Space”, Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, February
Tray Butler, All in the wrist, “Shelf Space”, Creative Loafing, Atlanta, February 12

2002
Broken Wrist Project, Book 1, Los Angeles, ISBN 0972158707
The Elizabeth Kent Story, Brooklyn, Graphic Havoc, ISBN 097196702X
Derek Lerner SHOW&TELL Fig.A, “Digital Détournement”, Select Magazine #3, Chicago, April