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.
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 is a 2020 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow.

Resume/Curriculum Vitae

B.F.A, Atlanta College of Art
Solo Exhibitions
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
VOLTA12, Robert Henry Contemporary, Markthalle, Basel, Switzerland
Convenient Gratification, Robert Henry Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY
Derek Lerner, RHV Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY
ONEHUNDREDEIGHT Freestyle Drawings On Cardboard, Tomoya Saito Gallery, Ebisu, Tokyo, Japan
Ecko Unltd showroom, New York, NY
Group Exhibitions
An empty Space to fill, Sandler Hudson Gallery, Curated by William Downs, Atlanta, GA
Dataism, ArtsWestchester, Curated by Amy Kurlander and Lise Prown, White Plains, NY
Datum Drawing, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Curated by Sandy Litchfield, Amherst, MA
Shoot The Pump, Bullet Space, Curated by Lee Quiñones, Alexandra Rojas, and Andrew Castrucci, New York, NY
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
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
Draw, Shooting Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Our Space CREAM 5th Anniversary, Kapok, Hong Kong
Draw as part of the SXSW Music-Film + Interactive Festival, Gallery Lombardi, Austin, Texas
Draw, Fuse Gallery, New York, NY
Invitational Alumni Exhibition, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Jacksonville, FL
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
BLING, Derek Lerner and Tom Sanford, 31GRAND, Brooklyn, NY
the big group show, M3Projects Gallery, Graphic Havoc collaboration, New York, NY
SK8 ON THE WALL, Graphic Havoc collaboration, Gallery Rocket, Tokyo, Japan
Triple Five Soul VS Graphic Havoc, 290 Lafayette St., New York, NY 
XHAND, 222gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Coded Language, City Gallery Chastain, Atlanta, GA
VERSION>02, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
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
Summer Vacation Show, Gallery Juno, New York, NY
transparent horizons, MACHINE collaboration, NEXUS Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta, GA
Senior Exhibition, The Atlanta College of Art Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Drawing, gallery 100, Atlanta, GA
Printmaking, Gallery 100, Atlanta, GA

Infrastructure 2p1, site-specific commission for Lululemon, Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle, New York City, 79” x 324” printed vinyl wall art instillation
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. As part of this commission Lerner's artwork was additionally paired with a poem by Pulitzer Prize awarded & US Poet Laureate Charles Simic for Poetry in Motion bus and subway posters. The drawing and poem are included in the book titled, “The Best of Poetry in Motion: Celebrating 25 Years on Subways and Buses”, published by W. W. Norton & Company.
Artists' books
CACHE¹, hardcover, 252 pages, edition of 10 signed and numbered - plus 6 A/Ps
CACHE², hardcover, 252 pages, edition of 10 signed and numbered - plus 6 A/Ps
ElephanArt, Zurich Switzerland
The Capital One Art Collection, McLean, VA
Norwegian Cruise Line Art Collection, Miami, FL
MTA Arts & Design, New York, NY
Derek Lerner interviewFor the Unconventional, November
Spatial preoccupations “Brooklyn Bridge”, 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, Robin L. Flanigan, Democrat & Chronicle, September 6
ARTSEEN “DEREK LERNER Convenient Gratification, Taney Roniger, The Brooklyn Rail, July
Interview with Derek Lerner, “Our Space”, CREAM No. 08, Hong Kong, October
GH avisualagency, London, Booth-Clibborn Editions, ISBN 1861542682
MAN VS. MACHINE by Graphic Havoc, “Technology”, BIG No. 51, New York
Übersee 2, “From Surface into Space”, Die Gestalten Verlag, Berlin, February
All in the wrist, “Shelf Space”, Tray Butler, Creative Loafing, Atlanta, February 12
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
Artist statement for “In Between” solo exhibition at Robert Henry Contemporary Sept-Oct, 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 more so 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-June, 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.
Back to Top