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Painters Table

Seen in New York, January 2019

By Paul Corio

January 21, 2019

In her current show at Klaus von Nichtssagend, Jennifer J. Lee also evokes the pixel by painting on extremely coarse jute – the weave of the material together with a moderately dry brush creating the lo-res effect. To me, these paintings were at their best when the depicted subject had a surface that was absolutely opposed to the fabric on which it was painted – things like plastic chairs, brass horns, and various kinds of glass. Window III(2018), the largest painting in the show at 21” x 19,” was quite amazing, creating an extremely convincing illusion of glass brick, with an indistinct landscape visible outside. In a 101-level painting the class, one of the first things one learns is that surfaces should be prepared according to what you’re planning to paint on them – Lee turns that formula on its head to very good effect. That particular painting, more so than any other in the show, also makes a strong nod toward abstraction; the grid is completely frontal, lines up precisely with the left-hand edge, and the proportion of the individual glass bricks is roughly the same as the overall shape. As much as I enjoyed the show, the paintings of landscape, bereft of that weird contrast between subject and surface, didn’t resonate quite as strongly.

Jennifer J. Lee, Window III, 2018, oil on jute, 21 x 19 inches (courtesy of the artist and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery, NY)