Bryce Wolkowitz is pleased to present A Fraid of Ghosts, a new body of mixed media works by Oliver Jeffers and his second solo exhibition in New York.
Just because you can't see something doesn't mean it isn't there…

Oliver Jeffers paints lonely ghosts into otherwise empty rooms, presenting a playful gallery experience that immerses us into the apparent monotony of the (non)lives of the spirits who patiently inhabit the world around us. 

The show's title is taken from Jeffers's much anticipated and newly published picture book, "There's a Ghost In This House," about a small girl who lives alone in an old house. She believes the home to be haunted though she has never actually seen a ghost and doesn't even know what they look like. Originally from Northern Ireland, Jeffers has timed both this exhibition and the release of his new book to coincide with the Halloween season (a tradition he says is more Irish in its origins than Saint Patrick's Day). In this rare crossover, he brings together his publishing and fine art endeavors to form an experience at once funny and poignant.

With more than one hundred new works, including three spirited installations that invite the viewer to become part of the setting, Jeffers recreates the atmosphere of haunted houses from his boyhood imagination. Nothing grasped the artist's mind more as a child than creepy, seemingly abandoned houses...and the thought that ghosts might wander their halls.

These painted ghosts, often shown contemplating the conditions of their existence or the ingredients of their demise, take center stage in otherwise empty scenes, floating through photographs taken from architectural reference books published over the last century. In small, elegantly framed works, calm and thoughtful ghosts wait by closed doors that may never open. They stare at us from around corners. They contemplate the quiet forgotten details of a world, or a room, they once knew. We are given access to the surprisingly mundane yet unsettlingly profound musings that float through their empty heads. Meanwhile, in technical firsts for Jeffers, the viewer can physically move the ghost via a system of levers across an empty scene or take on the gaze of old eyes that seem to follow one around a room.

Using various media and methods, including a healthy amount of glow-in-the-dark paint that will reveal itself when the lights grow dim, A Fraid of Ghosts is a cross disciplinarian, fully immersive, amusingly haunted Halloween experience. Before long, however, the wit erodes through its viewing to expose the poignant futility of everyday domesticity as we viewers also consider what it is we do with our lives, what comes after, and the possible connection between the two. 

Raised in Belfast and based in Brooklyn, Oliver Jeffers makes art and tells stories. His themes are universal and often drawn from distinct and humorous observations on the world around us. Oliver's critically acclaimed picture books have sold over 14 million copies in more than 45 languages worldwide. He has been the recipient of some of children's books highest accolades, including the Nestlé Gold Medal, Bologna Rigazzi Award, the Irish Picture Book of the Year, and New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books Award. Two of his titles have been translated to animated features by Studio AKA, most recently Here We Are featured on Apple TV+ with voices by Meryl Streep, Chris O' dowd, and Jason Tremblay. Oliver's visual language is celebrated internationally, his artwork is exhibited at such institutions as the Brooklyn Museum in New York and the National Portrait Gallery in London, as well seen in such publish spheres as the TED conference, Apple Education, Adobe MAX conference, New York Parks Department and Rockefeller Center. Notable collaborations include those with JR, Jerry Saltz, and ongoing projects with U2/(RED).
Oliver Jeffers lives and works in both Belfast, Northern Ireland and Brooklyn, New York