In what will be his third solo exhibition at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Witz continues to develop his acclaimed mosh pit series while also exploring new surroundings. With a career spanning over three decades Witz has evolved from being a pioneer of the street art movement to refining a studio practice that incorporates both digital and old master techniques.
Influenced by the work of Renaissance painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, his large-
scale oil paintings of rampant crowds embody a rebellious and provocative nature that’s heightened by a stunning hyperreal aesthetic. He elaborates:
“I’m an academic realist painter, but I’m living in the 21st century, so I’m not going to be painting Roman soldiers invading, or some gothic baroque composition…The highest aspiration of an academic realist painter are these big group figure paintings, and I’m using the hardcore scene as my subject.”
In this new series of work, Witz continues to portray the frenetic motion of mosh pits but also expands upon his usual hardcore setting in a pair of works called Brite Nite, which depict rave scenes. As their luminous title suggests this atmospheric change has fostered a tonal shift, resulting in compositions that are euphoric and less physically aggressive. Witz further develops this notion in Small Orgy, an amorphous interlocking of nude figures in the midst of experiencing different stages of ecstasy.
While building upon established themes Witz remains true to his skillful methods of conveying light, shadow, movement and depth. Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy exemplifies his renowned trompe l’oeil artistry, as well as his ability to epitomize the primordial instincts of his subjects.