Sometimes You Have to Fight Fire with Water

by Jason Sho Green (MFA 2011)
My project for this residency began as an investigation of the evolution of memory.

"Third Prettiest Girl"
Initially my concept was to do a series of paintings in Giverny, then stash them away and attempt to re-create the paintings from memory, then to do so over and over again until I arrived at a series that began with something completely from observation and ended with images completely fabricated from my memory. From that idea, my project has evolved into a similar thing dealing with memory but with the subject being a portrait of a young woman I know in NY, whose face I knew I wouldn't see for the four weeks during my residency in Giverny and travels in Barcelona and Madrid.

Hill Top View
Monet's Gardens

Musée d'Orsay
But upon beginning work on this series, I found that the final paintings were too similar. I could draw her face too well from memory, however didn't have the time during the residency (only 2 weeks) to fully explore and render the paintings.

Concurrently, I had been working in my sketchbook daily, drawing panoramic views of my surroundings, in the airplane (see here for the sketch), in the gardens, in front of museums, etc, and those turned out to be far more interesting than my original project. 

Working in this vein, I have combined all the small linen panels I'd prepared (including the ones with already painted portraits) into one large canvas. I have been doing a panoramic painting of our large studio, capturing the movements of my studio mates and the architecture and light of our workspace. Hope this will capture both the evolution of my project and the passing of time as the other artists move in and out of the studio in the coming week.

A while back, an ex-girlfriend/model was looking at my paintings and said, "You're going to hate this, but why don't you just paint like you draw?" She was spot on. I had gotten stuck in one of those things where I got wrapped up in painting as I had been taught to paint in class and forgot that there are other ways to solve visual problems. Now I'm trying attack this conceptual problem with a technical strength. Switching it up from "fighting fire with fire" to "fighting fire with water" is how I think of it.

The studio... works in progress.
I think we're all perversely looking forward to the critiques with Wade Schuman. Everybody seems to have gotten a good start on their works: Ian has a butchered pig head in his studio for a still life, I have a canvas resembling Frankenstein that's quickly being filled, Amber is working on some exciting drawings with all these odd French materials. It's been sweet to get on an early start for the second and final year of our MFA program.

1 comment:

  1. so interesting to hear the process and the anticipation! Thanks for sharing this!