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Behind the Exhibit: The Opioid Trail

Andrew David Ringler’s paintings take an honest look at the country’s drug crisis

This week, the fight against opioid addiction made major strides when the Department of Justice awarded nearly $3 million dollars to a federal court district in Ohio, a state that saw over 3,000 opioid-related deaths in 2015 alone. As this highly addictive substance continues to ravage large swaths of the country, the art world is taking notice. Painter and Ohio native Andrew David Ringler confronts this raging epidemic in his latest series, on view at the Lower East Side’s onetwentyeight gallery from October 4 – 22.

The exhibit, The Opioid Trail, explores the wake of drug addiction across small town America – particularly in the pastoral landscapes of the rural Midwest. For instance, one of the most evocative paintings depicts an ordinary-looking barn emblazoned with the logo for Narcan nasal spray, a treatment used in narcotic overdoses.

"East Liverpool, Ohio #1" oil on linen, 30x24", 2017

Left: “East Liverpool, Ohio #1″ oil on linen, 30×24”, 2017. Right: “East Liverpool, Ohio #2″ oil on canvas, 30×24”, 2017

While his subject matter could leave you with feelings of despair and foreboding, Ringler’s intent is instead to dismantle the stigma of opioid addiction. In the end, Ringler’s subtle work brings nuance and understanding to a population all-too-frequently minimized by the latest opioid-related headline.

"West Salem Ghost" oil on canvas, 24x30", 2017

“West Salem Ghost” oil on canvas, 24×30″, 2017

The exhibition is on view at onetwentyeight at 128 Rivington Street in New York City.

Main image: “Narcan Barn #1″ oil on linen, 24×30”, 2017

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