Every Night Artist Statement

Music is an intensely visual phenomenon for me. When I listen to music, images of nature, objects, cities, and places that I have only imagined combine and overlap, creating a kind of landscape in my mind. Through painting, I am clarifying the appearance of these images in my mind and making them perceptible to viewers. Each painting begins as a visual response to a song, album, or memory of attending a concert. As each painting unfolds, the image assumes a life of its own, leading me in unexpected directions within the process of painting.

As a drummer, I have always been interested in the rhythmic qualities of songs. The repetition of sounds is essential to establishing a strong sense of rhythm and space within a piece of music. With the paintings in Every Night, pattern and repetition among colors and shapes are the means through which I create visual parallels to my experience of listening to and playing music.

Many of these paintings assume atmospheric qualities similar to those of a landscape painting through the buildup of thin transparent layers of paint. In other paintings, the pairing of overlapping bands of unmixed colors with the natural wood grain of the birch panels creates a more opaque and flattened, yet equally dynamic sense of space. These variations in how paint is applied to the canvases and wooden panels reflect my thought processes about how images resonate with the experience of listening to music.

Review of Justin Cooper’s Thin Lines at Beta Pictoris Gallery, Birmingham, AL

Beta Pictoris Gallery’s reputation as Birmingham’s premier contemporary art gallery is upheld once again with Thin Lines, an exhibition of drawings and sculpture by New York-based artist Justin Cooper. The exhibition’s opening reception featured a performance by Cooper and collaborator Ross Moreno. While the drawings in Thin Lines sit well as highly sophisticated doodles, Cooper’s signature garden hose pieces at Beta Pictoris feel timid compared to their previous incarnations. They become watered-down versions of his exploits with the garden hose elsewhere as a “suburban hallucination.”  Nonetheless, the drawings and hoses’ installation in the gallery’s front windows demonstrates Cooper’s adeptness for filling spaces with dynamic lines that blur distinctions between drawing and sculpture. 

As a newcomer to performance art, I found Cooper’s engagement with his audience at the exhibition’s opening refreshingly accessible. The performance unfolded much like the process of drawing. Like each line in a drawing, the jokes were introduced, reworked, and reintroduced in a chain of attempts to render their comedic efforts resolved. Cooper’s propensity for stream of consciousness humor culminated in a humorous pseudo-magic trick that found Moreno stripped down to a neon green thong. Thin Lines positions play and sophistication of form and concept as healthy bedfellows in a gallery context.

Roger Jones
March 2012

Review of Picasso to Warhol Exhibition at The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

The works by fourteen major artists in this exhibition show crucial changes in the trajectory of Art during the last Century. These artists are masters, but not in the sense that their work exemplifies mastery of one medium. Their mastery lies in the works’ ability to alter our understanding of what forms Art can take and its social implications.  

The installation of Picasso’s Cubist explorations at the beginning of this exhibition is fitting for a walk-through of high points in Twentieth-Century Art.  Reverberations of Picasso’s later paintings are present in Bearden and Leger’s paintings. Paintings and collages from Matisse exemplify new avenues in the use of color. The paintings from Picasso, Matisse, and Pollock exhibit the most radical shifts in the use of paint to find new images. 

Duchamp’s assertion that Art should function “In service of the mind,” reads like a maxim for this exhibition.  Of the later works, Calder’s sculptures initiate a kind of painting in space, while Warhol’s appropriation of the commercial zeitgeist through printmaking and video show Art assuming a more critical function. The contextualization that works in Picasso to Warhol provide to movements in contemporary Art is a testament to this exhibition’s content and form.

Artists featured include Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Brancusi, Piet Mondrian, Fernand Leger ,Giorgio de Chirico,  Marcel Duchamp, Joan Miro, Louise Bourgeois, Jackson Pollock, Romare Bearden, Alexander Calder, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol.

Roger Jones
April 2012

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