I create ceiling and wall mounted assemblages built out of neon, lab equipment, resin-cast photographs and rebar pulled from demolition sites. The works triangulate a conversation between sculpture, photography and light art. I call them neon hybrids.
The work mocks normative 2-dimensional mounting traditions. It cannot be shipped and simply hung. I insist on constructing the neon hybrids site responsively, growing and grabbing across each unique space like a virus infecting its host space.
The material references within my assemblages form a network of ideas that I pull from repeatedly. The photographs I deploy represent previous assemblages and installations, revealing an auto-cannibalistic slant in my relationship with own practice. Encased in resin, the photographs are at once fortified by that process, and rendered more translucent to the lighting effects of the neon. The demolition-sourced rebar presents an indexical representation of the trauma it underwent through the process of demolition. The rebar pieces emerge from the rubble like 3D scars. The lab equipment I deploy reflects my experimental and alchemistic approach to building. I cast the form of the neon to mimic the twisted, 3-dimensional drawing of the demolition rebar. The neon functions as glowing, fragile, anti-shadows of the dull, cheap metal of the rebar. Neon also serves to penetrate the surface of the photographs, lighting them both front and back. The works light themselves like deep-sea bioluminescent predators.
John Schlesinger born in Topeka Kansas is a veteran photographer turned sculptor and installation artist living and working in Philadelphia.
He has won a Rome Prize, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, an Aaron Siskind Fellowship and two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships. His work has been reviewed in Art in America, the Village Voice, Aperture, Bomb Magazine, Art News, and the New York Times.
Collected broadly, Schlesinger’s output can be found at the Walker Art Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Houston Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Hamburg Kunsthalle, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, and the MOMA. He has taught at the School of Visual Arts, Rice University, Drexel University and Rockland Community College. He has earned residencies at MacDowell, Yaddo and several other colonies. He recently completed a CFEVA Fellowship in Philadelphia.
Schlesinger often collaborates with Tra Bouscarenas half of the team Dear Volunteers. In the last four years he has completed installations at CFEVA (Philadelphia), Unsmoke Art Systems (Braddock, PA), AC Projects (NYC), Whittier College (Los Angeles), Fort Mason Center for Art, San Francisco), Lola 38 (West Philadelphia) and Rockville Arts Center (Rockville, MD).
He recently completed "After the Fall," an evolving installation at Cherry Street Pier on the waterfront in Philadelphia.
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
MFA, Interdisciplinary Art, Certificate in tbm
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
BA, Philosophy and Photography
BS, Art Education
Catalog, Lola 38, Philadelphia, PA
Catalog, American Academy in Rome, Rome, Italy
"Pandemic: Facing AIDS", Umbrage Editions, edited and curated by Nan Richardson, Spring
Van Proyen, Mark, “San Francisco e-Mail: Burtynsky, Schlesinger, Nimoy”, Art Issues, Summer
"Artworld", Art in America, March
Description of Louis Comfort Tiffany Award
Boxer, Sara, review of "Snapshots" at Aldrich Museum, New York Times
American Academy in Rome
Allen Memorial Museum
Art Institute of Chicago
Bill Arning, New York
Bonni Benrubi, New York
Blue Mountain Center
Henry Buhl, New York
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Carnegie Museum of Art
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts
Deutsche Bank, AG, FDR
Richard Flood, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Barry Friedman, New York
General Mills, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hamburg Kunsthalle, Hamburg, FDR
Houston Museum of Fine Arts
Lehigh University Gallery
The MacDowell Colony
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Oberlin College Art Museum, Ohio
Princeton University, New Jersey
Aaron Siskind Foundation
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Tampa Art Museum
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Center For Emerging Visual Arts, Philadelphia, PA
Visual Artist’s Fellowship, Peter Benoliel Fellow
John Armstrong Chaloner Rome Prize Fellowship in the Visual Arts
Peter S. Reed Foundation Award
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Residencies
Aaron Siskind Fellowship