John Newsom is an artist full of timid energy and a boisterous manner that can at times be offsetting. He speaks about the art he likes with a deep passion. He is enthusiastic about painting, in particular. He interprets the structure of what he sees in nature, but not from the point of view of its everyday veneer. Newsom’s idea of nature is not what is readily known to human inhabitants in the everyday world. It is a fantastic, harrowing view of nature – a twisted narrative, an obtuse allegory -- where insects and birds prey upon one another. There is something unsettling about the creatures in Newsom’s world. His paintings envision the pessimistic dark side of humanity. They reveal something less than Schopenhauer and something more than Artaud. Newsom’s world is a sinister, discomfor-
ting world, where nature reigns not through idealism but through a dialectical opposition of forces, a Darwinian deluge where what we see is the pitiful truth and what we do not see is the forgotten idealism that was lost two centuries ago in the dark, lurking forest of Rousseau. Newsom rejects the ideal in his painting in favor of nihilism.