JULY 2018: JAY ALEXANDER
My paintings present a contemporary reinterpretation of some of the themes found in the Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Chinese painting. The books of the plum, orchid, flowering plants, and feathers infuse my experience and technique into an ancient venerable genre.
The paintings assembled here are essentially landscapes with a zoom lens depicting the above subjects in the moods, seasons, and light of my environment. They are expressed through my deep attachment to the natural world filtered through a vast body of theory with metaphysical underpinnings—that art is a spontaneous expression, immediate and irrevocable as life itself, where the essential truth of a painted object is the operation of the spirit (chi) in life movement (Zheng tung).
This approach to painting is engendered and fostered by the media I use—a very porous rice paper combined with the drips, washes, ink blots, and calligraphic strokes of ink and watercolor.
The washes of transparent color capture light and atmosphere; the bleeding of the rice paper adds expression and accidental effect: lotus pods leak out ink, blossoms dissolve into branches and mist, birds gaze into the diffuse sunlight in a watery, vague surrounding.
Form and dissolution: nothing is fixed and stable in this world of water, ink, and paper. Layers dissolve into one another and the atmosphere vibrates and envelops the subjects in a vibrant, fluid, luminous world.
Jay Alexander studied Far Eastern languages, religion, and art at Harvard University and the University of Massachusetts. After finishing his studies, he started a graphics company and for many years designed illustrated science and medical textbooks. Drawing on this graphics experience and his studies in Far Eastern art, he has devoted himself to expression with ink and watercolor on rice paper. He has exhibited his work in many local venues in the Amherst, Massachusetts, area, and his art has appeared or is forthcoming in The Shanghai Literary Review and the A3 Review.