Oneohtrix Point Never and Oism

Oneohtrix Point Never and Oism

Monday March 8th, 2021

I’m a big Oneohtrix Point Never fan. Those who know me well, know that. Now, you dear reader, know this about me as well. Welcome to the inner circle.

I was listening to Age Of the other day, and it stuck me that cover art is really something else. It really drew me in to inspect it a bit closer. At first glance, kinda witch-y, kinda cult-y, cool! I dug in further. A quick Google revealed the painting featured on the cover of Age Of is by an artist who’s name is Jim Shaw.

Age Of Cover Art, Oneohtrix Point Never / Warp Records. 2018

I kept digging and found some details of the original painting at artresearchmap.com. Check it out:

Jim Shaw, The Great Whatsit, 2017
acrylic on muslin, 53 x 48 inches, 134.6 x 121.9 cm.
Jim Shaw. Installation view, 2017. Metro Pictures, New York.

Some of Jim’s other work is pretty spectacular too. Check out the rest of Jim Shaw’s 2017 exhibition. This fleshy acrylic Head is just a marvel to look at. It’s haunting, disturbing and just glistens. Can’t look away.

Jim Shaw, Head, 2017
Foam, aqua resin, acrylic paint, and synthetic hair with metal base
34 1/2 x 12 x 12 inches, 87.6 x 30.5 x 30.5 cm

Shaw’s artwork seems to simmer in dense crockpot of American pop culture. Ripe with metaphors and symbolism, the musical motifs are certainly interesting to behold. Simon Lee Gallery has a great excerpt that captures Shaw’s penchant perfectly:

Shaw’s ongoing project Oism contains a narrative core and ironically challenges the norms of an artwork. Marking Shaw’s attempt to create a functioning religion, complete with its own history, totems and traditions, Oism is drawn from profound and far-reaching research initiated in the early 1990s into the history of American religious practice and finds inspiration in the messianic cults active in America’s Bible belt. The creation and study of Oism has fuelled a wide range of artworks-cum-artefacts, and includes, amongst others, paintings, photographs, sculptures, collages, posters, films and musical instruments.

Whoo. I’ll say! The Great Whatsit, is certainly effective pursuit of his Oism narrative. The Sunday school hymnal-esque illustration of singing women, bathed in MacBook sunbeams perfectly evokes the Warner Sallman white Jesus brand, with a hint of psychedelic vibes. If you ask me, Shaw hit the nail on the head. American culture on a spectrum. Both searching for a messiah, burning the candle at both ends.

If we want to go deeper, Daniel Lopatin’s string choice for the title track, is a Hapsichord. Apart from snapping so fucking hard as an intro (it’s so good), it really sets the tone as a meditative album from the get-go. I just love the marriage between Oism and 0PN. It’s almost like they’re teasing a sort of recommended set-and-setting for this album. Such a strong connection that can’t be ignored, between these two artists. It’s perfect.

Furthermore, Lopatin’s MYRIAD sets were literally mind-bending, world shattering Oism concerts. I mean just look at this. These fellas know exactly what they’re doing. Building myths, stories and tales forged in music and wonder. One of a kind stuff here. Excelsior.

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