JENNIFER BAIN

The landscape of New Mexico influences my painterly space and forms. This is an ancient place that shows marks of the past, demonstrated by weathered surfaces everywhere. The land itself is full of mysterious formations. A vast place that holds small traces of human interaction.

The paintings aim to reveal the layers I perceive in the earth, rocks and landscapes around me. The distant mountain ranges read as flat shapes with hard and soft edges. They present unfathomable illusions of depth and lack of depth: a constant shifting of space due to the altitude and changing light. Shifting light sources from clouds and thin air create implausible colors, and odd almost indiscernible focal points.

I build layers in paint mimicking the way the earth builds up layers of sediments. They are then sanded away to reveal the marks, laid down previously, underneath. Buried forms, and deep scruffy lines compete for dominance on the surface, while multiple layers of under paint and sgraffito create the platform for my translation of experience. The act of erasing creates a window into the layers below, the way wind and water erode land, revealing layers of history.

As I work I uncover and discover obscured shapes that I work with to bring up to the surface. These forms call out to be realized in three dimensions, and the soft sculptures developed from this. The shapes seem to describe an animated figure relationship when taken from the flat plane into three dimensions. This has created an interesting relationship between the paintings and the sculptures. Apparent by method and materials the created sculptural shapes are more in the “present” in translation than the pentimento of the paintings.

The method used to make the sculpture forms differs from the excavation like methods used in creating the paintings. However a dynamic is presented as they are worked from a shared trajectory, illuminating the process of being present while gazing into the past.