John Szlasa

Art is the unknown, it must be free, and it is unlike anything else in our everyday sensorial experience. Our daily life is aggressively occupied by pervasive images, text, and advertising but it can also be privatized, partitioned, possessed, institutionalized and even barricaded. We find ourselves conditioned and ruled by norms, constraints, and restraints. My work can cause a negation by forcing a person to engage with something physically: an object that exists in the quotidian, but simultaneously disorients these imposed conditions.

For some time, my work has been engaged with the space between the conventions of painting and that of sculpture. Although my methods and processes come directly out of a heavy engagement with abstract painting, I search for an unclassifiable quiddity.  These pieces relate directly to sculpture because I see them as free in the world.  At the same time they are not actual utilitarian, commodity, or representational in any sense– they are purposefully purposeless. So they are similar to an abstract painting in that way, however they are not bounded and limited by a frame or a definitive recto/verso format. The reason I am so engaged and captivated by this condition is because it feels free from control and an imposed order.

Visual effects come from process not rendering. Patched vs. broken, organic vs. artificial, gravity, floor, wall, leaning, casting in and around, imbedded, stretched, compressed, coated, dyed, bunched, cut, joined, stacked, intersected, filled, shredded, printed, wrapped, cast off and found again…The works are never orientation specific, but their specific effects must be resonant. Disorientation is necessary, or perhaps reorientation is necessary. I wish to slow the eye down and speed the eye up simultaneously.


The work starts from an impulse activated by a studio situation or everyday visual experience. This may occur on the street, or in the market-place with peripheral objects, and materials. Thumbnails, maquettes, a particular joint, axis, or mode of display may set off a work. My studio process opens the work to free narrative associations, as well as chance operations and a process that is open to unpredictable results.  I push the haptic, object oriented nature of the form, and perform a strange alchemy embedded on the surface of these pieces that turn the object itself into something alien, challenging the notion of what a painting is and can be.

b. New York 1982

Lives and Works in Brooklyn, NY


Solo Project

MuseumofAmericaBooks Solo Project Space | Fatigue Bones, Brooklyn, NY 9-26-2016

Group Exhibitions



Pratt Institute Steuben Gallery | Flat Touch, Brooklyn NY 2-2018



The Cooper Union School of Art | Reconstruir: Supporting rebuilding efforts in rural Mexican Communities,, New York, NY, 11-04-2017

Bomb Pop Up Sculpture Garden | Center Piece, Brooklyn NY 9-01-2017

Yomama Gallery | Suicide Squeeze, Brooklyn, NY 8-26-2017



Regina Rex Gallery | Regina Rex Summer Benifit Auction Group Show, New York, NY 6-7 2016

Likky Ruph | Anthropocene Markers, Brooklyn, USA 2/16


The American Academy of Arts and Letters | The Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, The American Academy of Arts and Letters – New York, NY 4/15


David Zwirner Gallery | To Do As One Would – organized by gallery staff members Mary Mitsch, Martha Moldovan, and Poppy Pulitzer – New York, NY | June/July 2014

Touch Gallery |  Paintingwall (Janus at 8:16) – Curated by Ala Dehghan – Boston, MA | January 2014


Apt 16 Art Space | Yes But Less – Curated by Daria Irincheeva in association with Ruy Sanchez Blanco – Newark, NJ | October 2013

Bleeker Street Arts Club | Dead Inside: A Group Sculpture Exhibition – Curated by Max Wolf and Meghan Carleton – New York, NY | July-August 2013

Yale School of Art | Painting and Printmaking Thesis Exhibition – New Haven, CT | February 2013

South First Gallery | Hello Darling – Curated by Patrick Berran – Brooklyn, NY | February-March 2013



Yale School of Art | Painting and Printmaking Second Year Group Show – New Haven, CT | September 2012

Carl De Alva/Jackie Saccoccio’s Studio | The Thing Show – Curated by Susan Jennings – West Cornwall, CT | July 2012


Family Business Gallery | The Virgins Show Part 2 – Curated by Marilyn Minter – New York, NY | November 2011


2013 Yale University School of Art – Painting and Printmaking MFA

2005 School of Visual Arts BFA



Visiting Artist Lecture


MICA Visiting Artist Lecture and guest critic Sculpture 1 Interdisciplinary Arts Department Baltimore MD 4/25/2017


Cooper Union Advanced Painting Visiting Artist Lecture and guest critic 10/2015


Cooper Union Advanced Painting Visiting Artist Lecture and guest critic 10/29/2014