In Meiro Koizumi's three-channel video installation, The Angels of Testimony (2019), the central frame features an interview with Hajime Kondo about his time as a solider of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The conversation centres on war crimes perpetrated in China, including the beheading of Chinese prisoners for...
Diana Campbell Betancourt is a curator working predominantly across South and Southeast Asia. Since 2013 she has been the founding artistic director of the Samdani Art Foundation and chief curator of the Dhaka Art Summit in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a transnational art event that has grown in size and scale ever since its first edition in 2012. Backed by...
China, home to 802 million internet users, is subject to sophisticated online censorship. This shrouded state of affairs, unsurprisingly perhaps, serves to reinforce stereotypes around conformity elsewhere. Any realm, digital or otherwise, subject to such strict scrutiny must necessarily be bland and uncritical, right? I was mulling over such...
Jess Fuller tells me that this is mainly a show of her 'medium-sized' paintings, then laughs as she notes that others would probably still consider them large. But what might be forwards for Fuller is usually backwards for others in her unique, invented process of painting. It's a physical, performative painting in several acts-tearing, washing, layering, spraying and sewing. Canvas, for Fuller, is not something that paintings are made on, arriving pre-stretched and primed, but something her paintings are made with. It is as inherent a material as the acrylic and gesso; her compositions are made in consultation with the fabric's grain, which forms a patchwork cast of irregular-shaped characters. At times they lean on one another, square up to one another; often, they appear as if posing-poised in position like carefully arranged elements of a still life.
Recognisable or biomorphic forms emerge in Fuller's works, but they are not always intended as representational. As viewers or bystanders, we perhaps can't help but map shapes from our lives onto these abstract, wiggly cutouts. Yet, for the artist, they are representative of more than one specific moment or meaning, reflecting an ongoing personal narrative that might lie dormant until it reveals itself in the painting process. Her works' titles often come from snippets of overheard conversations or pieces of text that might flit by as she moves through the city-Application for After-Life Insurance, Lean on me, Love thy neighbor-Discreetly-and are thus an appliquéd vocabulary as hodge-podge as the visual language within the works. Forms, like words, repeat through different paintings, developing a lexicon between marks and colours. As with the act of writing, Fuller is at once wielding control and relinquishing it, allowing room for surprising herself by what might emerge in the space. Working with the canvas directly on the floor permits a gestural act of assembling-two cutout pieces strewn about suddenly might appear in dialogue with one another, intuitively, as if by accident. Other decisions will be more deliberate, Fuller weaving threads of meaning between these sewn shapes gone askew.
Fuller's forms bear witness to this push-pull process that sits between intention and unintention, between painting and sculpture, between abstract and evocation. Fuller's layers push up against each other in overlapping, exaggerated drama, where awkward silhouettes wriggle and jitter in place. These piles of stitched gestures challenge boundaries and definitions, conjuring seemingly infinite combinations unique to both each work and each viewer. For Fuller, however, it's a continual experiment into the act of painting-the personal and political woven into materials, elicited in colours, stitched in the outlines of even the most abstract forms.
Jess Fuller (b. 1972, Portland, Maine, US) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY
Selected exhibitions include: CANADA, New York (2017); Fort Greene, curated by Adrianne Rubenstein, Venus, Los Angeles (2016); Re-Planetizer, curated by The Pit, Regina Rex, New York (2016); Inside Out, Berthold Pott Gallery, Cologne (2016); 8 Femmes, Office Baroque, Brussels (2016); Fairy Smoke, Herald St, London (2015); I Can't Wait to Get Off Work, Bannerette, New York (2015); BFA Boatas, São Paulo (2015); Call and Response, Gavin Brown's Enterprise, New York (2015); amongst others.
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