Artists: Louise Belcourt, JoAnne Carson, John Dilg, Jenny Dubnau, Julie Evans, Jackie Gendel, Kate Gilmore, Robert Gutierrez, Perry Hu, Chris Jahncke, Joshua Marsh, Johan Nobell, Paul Pagk, Katia Santibanez, Wendy White, Eric Wolf
Curated by Franklin Evans
“Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.” This signature statement by Jasper Johns has become canonic. Within the complex sphere of artistic production, one way of creating exceptional work is through an application of Johns’ approach. Twist It Twice presents 16 artists whose selected works, when read as painting, echo this principle. Using a wide range of means, these artists take the history of painting and the canon of images and turn them on their head. Innovation upon innovation is a delicate act of daring, recognizable in work because it stretches the boundaries of the imagination.
Jackie Gendel challenges the genre of portraiture in her multi-layered paintings, summations of abjection and delight that simultaneously target abstraction, caricature, and disappearance. Jenny Dubnau captures a mediated performance, poignantly pointing to her photographic source, twisted tightly by her unfussy, economic application of paint. In performances presented as time-based video works, Kate Gilmore “paints” primarily through her use of costumes and environments that unexpectedly support a kindly cruel critique of gender.
John Dilg inventively uses erasure through the cumulative application and dissolution of paint layers, both as metaphor for memory and as actualization of time’s passage in the creation of a new language. Similarly, Perry Hu pushes memory, summoning early modernist spaces that exist primarily as an eye’s registration of light, form and space – a teetering between knowing and its impossibility. Chris Jahncke takes a meteorite as the origin to ruminate on perceived and invented spaces and their dependence upon time to connect to the present. Robert Gutierrez creates poetic and eerie landscapes that hover unrepentantly between abstraction and representation and push to the micro limit of paint particles themselves. Johan Nobell reaches to a Gustonianly epic past, yet reduced to an intimate scale. Nobell’s paintings whisper controlled chaos the closer one inspects. Paul Pagk’s reference to mechanical reproduction is twisted to its elision; the triumphant weight of the hand-made re-enforces painting’s physical presence as material that can only be experienced in real space.
The natural is pitted against the man-made in JoAnne Carson’s odd, fanciful hybrids, sculptural creatures that extend painting beyond the plane of the past. Katia Santibanez digests organic forms from observation and lays down strict geometric rules that cause a dissolution of image that borders on the optical sublime. Louise Belcourt operates in the space between abstraction and landscape, invention and observation that pushes the analytic of abstraction to meditative necessity. Meanwhile, Wendy White delivers full-on detritus, the residue of a painting studio that celebrates its plasticity and illusionistic possibilities in spite of her bias toward gesture and expression.
Joshua Marsh’s exquisitely painted still-life indulges an appetite for the richness of paint, space and illusion; however, its achievement requires an attention to the odd psychological narrative he establishes pictorially and the critical formal choices that challenge his starting point in observation. Julie Evans’ painting offers an exploration of Eastern miniature painting through a Western lens, mediating a contemporary understanding of a culture’s highly decorative past to alter the pace of reading Western abstraction. Eric Wolf reduces pleine-air painting to black and white abstraction created with a single brush. His masterful hand offers visual magic that seismically shifts the ground between Op Art and landscape painting.
Twist It Twice hopes to reinforce the power of Jasper Johns’ position. The challenge is not to do something interesting. Rather, it is to do something exceptional, to push that initially interesting start to places that border on the magical and the unexpected.
- Franklin Evans