We went to VSOP to talk to speak with Jonathan Weiskopf and Jacqueline Ferrante about her first solo exhibition, which is currently on view at VSOP Art & Design Projects. Jacqueline is a resident at the Trestle Gallery in Brooklyn. Her work includes textural layered compositions and photography focused on “the relationship between color, texture, and form as they change over time.”
Her first solo exhibition is a departure from her pervious works which are typically quite colorful, and focuses almost entirely on white – thus inviting the viewer to focus primarily on textures and layers to grasp the meaning of the work.
NFN: So this is an exploration series?
Jacqueline: This is an exploration where the painting is a little more minimal in terms of color, and how the color white, or white with another color, can by small changes really make a difference – whether towards the coolness of white, or how the white may feel a little warmer. I’m also very interested in layering and texture, building up and breaking down the paint.
NFN: Its interesting how some of these appear to represent things even though it’s an abstract painting – like this one to me looks kind of like a snowy mountain range.
Jonathan: That is a beautiful and important observation. I refer to these pieces as topographical. Pictorially they are all purely abstract, there is no representation here, but many of them are so familiar visually right? If you spend any time flying and looking out the window. Some of them are so familiar to me either from sky or sea.
NFN: It also tricks me because from far away it looks like elevations in the whiter part, and lower areas in the darker part - but physically the reverse is true.
Jonathan: So it seems kind of illusionary? These areas that appear flat are more foreground.
NFN: It just plays a trick with my mind I think because of the white, which you usually associate with being higher from a topographical point of view, because there are no shadows, and the darker area seems lower, like where the shadows begin. But actually on the painting the darker area is the thicker more layered part.
Jacqueline: Yes, because most of the layering is in that section.
Jonathan: that’s where most of the three dimensional layering comes into play. Yes, that does reveal itself as you bring yourself toward the piece.
NFN: See? I can talk about art stuff…
Jonathan: I think when you surrender this idea that you have to have a certain vocabulary for the paintings to work for you, you’re able to really access it on your own terms. Some of us have a more established academic knowledge about art – the history of it, the kind of established language of art. But abstract pictures challenge you to do a lot more work than things that are representational, which give many more answers to your questions. With an abstract work, you arrive only with your history, with the pictures you’ve seen before.
Jacqueline: I also like to think in terms of the history, and the way that things have changed over time. In a way recalling those memories, or things that we’ve seen – is part of what inspires me – these textures that we see in urban landscapes – these textures that have decayed over time or been painted over, walked over.
NFN: The patina of the world.
Jacqueline: Right, like how those kind of images can be beautiful, but unnoticed – so in a sense I’m kind of recalling that history in the work too.
Jonathan: Her works are all rooted in this way of seeing, which kind of exposes these hidden or undiscovered or overlooked layers upon layers of material, of surface, of stickers, paint, bark, rust.
Jacqueline: Those moments in time you pass by don’t notice, or sometimes you do, but its kind like - just stop and take a breather.
Jonathan: One of the important roles of an artist as our lives become faster moving, and potentially less satisfying – the role of artists and I think one of the greatest successes of the work here is that it slows us down. It’s a slower look.
"White Paintings" by Jacqueline Ferrante is on view at VSOP Art & Design Projects until May 21
Check out her artist talk May 12 at 2pm