About the Paintings
Written by Jimmy Jalapeeno
As a painter, I want to try for some kind of mastery of the performance of manipulating paint, in accordance with the long history of decorating flat surfaces with pigment. In order to do that, it is necessary to refer to the culturally familiar ways of dealing with the process.
You can call me Retro if you like. I feel a connection with the act of painting going back to Lascaux, and I want to connect to what has been achieved in the practice. I wouldn’t mind being perceived as doing something new with it, but not at the risk of dismissing or forgetting what has gone before. Painting is painting. And referring to the efforts of those who have done it in years past can only add to the experience of the current audience of the work. Even rap musicians observe the well-tempered tonal system (pretty much).
There are certain grooves that are established in painting that go beyond style. These would be the landscape, the figure, and the still life. Plus a couple of twentieth century additions.
A landscape must produce a space that can be traversed or occupied. The discrete detail of flora and geology must be established in a believable way, even if with the merest suggestion. Leaves, water, air and rocks have to have some believable existence, no matter how stylized or distorted.
A figure can be executed far outside the anatomically-correct boundaries of the academy; and there are very expandable limits to the definition of “likeness”. But it has to do one thing. It has to appear to live.
A still life has to do one thing… it has to produce an object or grouping of objects that can be engaged. It has to have the property of an object, which is that it appears that it can be taken away as an object of property.
And all these grooves have to obey the basic structures of balanced geometry on a two-dimensional surface. There must be a composition that works within its own boundaries, just as there must be some sort of mathematical language at work in a piece of music. That explains a new, twentieth-century groove… the abstract. All paintings are abstract, but within the last century we have had paintings that were purely that. Still, there may be suggestions in such paintings harkening back to the figure, the landscape, the object.
The other twentieth-century groove is the collage. Or the assemblage, the ready-made, the pastiche. Pieces are appropriated from existing works in whole or part to make new ones. The collage appears to refer to the universe of information, rather than the real world. Like the pure abstract, there may be suggestions within a work in this category associating it with the landscape, the figure, the object.
I do paintings that fit into the landscape, figure, still life and sometimes abstract grooves. I do that because it still works, but also because I want to learn what kinds of painting operations are necessary for each. I just like painting for what it is. But I also do work that is more of a pastiche operation, encompassing some of the practices of my multiple-exposure photography.
The type of seeing that I use in photography leaks into my painting quite a bit.