Work by Jesus Javier at PEREGRINEPROGRAM

Stephanie: BROWN, AND BEIGE, a solo exhibition by artist Jesus Javier, proved to be much more engaging that I expected, another instance of online images not doing the actual work the justice it deserves. The show was made up by three types of works: washy paintings on cardboard, a video piece, and a Xerox/print taped to one wall, all listed on the image list by title and the cardinal direction they were located and facing. This was possibly one of the sparsely hung shows I've seen a the Program, which, rather than feeling bare, lent an air of scavenger hunt to the entire exhibition, which included pieces facing out the window, toward the wall, or hidden behind pipes. The ghostly wash of the cardboard based portraits contrasted sharply with the snapshot photo of two men holding hands in a spotlight, the humorous campiness of the one playing off the starkness of the other. The video itself, at least the segment I saw, reminded me of Baltimore, with the static row houses and the ever-present wail of sirens. Situated off to one side near a corner, the TV created a comfortable niche in an otherwise relatively unstructured space. My only wish was that the Johnny-On-The-Spot floating down the river outside the gallery was part of the exhibition, put there to float sadly along under the haunted stare of the outward facing portrait.

Jeriah: The other segment of the video that I saw was footage of a pair of flipbooks. They were both on blue-lined paper, like a composition book. The first one showed a car driving (it was stationary on the page, but clouds flew by to show movement), which then went over a ramp, flipped, and exploded. The other was of a line scrolling vertically like the bar on a television that needs its, what's it called, its vertical hold adjusted. They had a cute, childhood charm to them.

I liked the paintings on the cardboard beverage packing trays, with the circular indentations where each can or bottle had pressed its base into the cardboard. I recognized the support immediately because I recently did one of my classroom demonstration paintings on one of 'em. Not really ideal for my purpose, but it got the job done. Javier used them far better, though, brushing layers of paint that skip over the depressions to emphasize their texture, which served as an additional visual layer obfuscating the figures and adding to their ghostly look. The paint on the figures themselves was sparse, minimal, and pushed way back. It worked.


By ArtTalkGuest on ArtTalk Chicago
June 21, 2010

review by Jeriah Hildwine and Stephanie Burke