May 3—June 7, 2015
“Time: a repetition on a surface: light, dark, open, close. The wall, a windowpane: illuminated then opaque then a half-light. Two lines of light, either side of the shade: delineating invisibility as the thing. A curtain, this way or that: the pushing back and forth of time on consciousness registered, silently, through the days. The repetition on a surface: something fleeting finds form, while something hard as stone changes.” -Jessica Dickinson
James Fuentes is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by Jessica Dickinson, Close/Close. The word “close”, depending on its context and pronunciation, can have different meanings - to shut something that is open, or to indicate proximity at once physical, spatial, and intimate. Dickinson structured this exhibition around the threshold of these meanings. Oscillating between calcified neutrality and subtle radiance, the works follow the sensations of an unfolding thought process examining an idea, emotion, or situation in its various conflicting dimensions over time. The layered actions and delineations of closed and closeness ossify into abstractions that attempt to decipher both unknowability, and moments of clarity.
Dickinson’s abstract paintings are developed over a long period of time through repeated additive, and subtractive procedures with oil paint on a plaster-like surface. Events of marking, covering, scraping, cutting into, and revealing are compressed as the paintings unfold actions of chance, change, and intention over time. Debra Singer notes in her recent essay, “While figurative is hardly a word one would use to describe Dickinson’s paintings, the figure, or the body itself, is central to our understanding of it. Her complex abstract surfaces become mercurial objects, seeming to shift in time and space right before our eyes as they delicately recalibrate the equilibrium among our optical, tactile, and cognitive abilities. In this way, her work addresses the mysterious connections of materiality to vision and perception, while simultaneously offering up a series of propositions about how “painting” – as both an object and a medium – might be considered a time-based enterprise.”
Released in conjunction with the exhibition is the first publication featuring Dickinson’s work, Under / Press. / With-This / Hold- / Of-Also / Of/How / Of-More / Of: Know. Published by Inventory Press and designed by Project Projects, the fully-illustrated publication features an essay by the curator Debra Singer and an interview with the artist by Patricia Treib. Debra Singer, “Up Close / Moving Back,” in Jessica Dickinson Under / Press. / With-This / Hold- / Of-Also / Of/How / Of-More / Of: Know. (New York: Inventory Press, 2015), p. 15.