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Jasmine Justice: Style Is Just Another Tool

Jasmine Justice, "Uranium Leak," 2010. Acrylic and vinyl paint on canvas.

Thea Liberty Nichols: I had the pleasure of getting to know you while working in my previous post at 65GRAND gallery, and it was lovely seeing you in town again for your last show their. Since the last body of work of yours I saw, the physicality of the knobby linen and metallic paints and the way it interacts with an almost intuitive sense of framing, patterning and imagery has gotten stronger and more intricate. But there was a new, figurative element to some pieces— can you tell us a little more about that?

Jasmine Justice: The events that appear in my paintings largely result from an opening of my subconscious into the painting process. I discover new meaning as a result of this opening. I have always considered the experience of making and reading my paintings to be very bodily, although if a form would arise that seemed too literally figural I wouldn’t keep it. Then faces started popping out more than usual. I think my paintings were teasing me. I have finally given in to allowing some face imagery.  I find them very inviting and I accept how human it is to read faces into everything.

Jasmine Justice, "Naughty or Nice," 2011. Acrylic on linen, 23.6 x 23.6 inches.

TLN: I know previously you were based out of New York but have spent the past year or so traveling and living abroad in places including Frankfurt, Berlin and Istanbul (if I’m not mistaken!). You featured the street view from your studio window in Istanbul on your 65GRAND exhibition poster, and I know when I was there a while back everything from the tile work, to the outline of minarets, to the color palate of cooking spices gave me aesthetic arrest. How have your experiences aboard in any or all of these places impacted your practice or made their way into your work?

JJ: I left New York in 2009 and have been spending a lot of time in Germany, but my current studio is in Istanbul. It’s in a district on the Asian side, where not-very-old furniture is renovated, mostly in a Baroque style. Nothing is ever thrown out here, and objects acquire unlikely identities through this recycling. The materials are simultaneously cheap and fancy and the shoddiness of the form doesn’t always correspond to the sumptuousness of material. Velvet, satin, jewels and metallic paint are routine. All these object of wonder are displayed in various stages of their creation out in the streets where the surrounding architecture is stark and modern, mostly from the 50s and 60s. The collision of these worlds is super exciting to me.

Jasmine Justice, "Pillow Talk," 2011. Acrylic on linen, 19.68 inches x 19.68 inches.

TLN: Oftentimes you go back into a painting again and again, and it proudly bears the materiality of these re-workings despite it’s eventual balance. Other times it seems like resolution is effortlessly evoked— or conversely, discord is celebrated. Similarly, you revive and revisit certain elements often, yet you’ve managed to intentionally elude the construction of a signature style. What kind of dialogue, if any, do you think your individual works, or bodies of work, have with each other?

JJ: Yes some of them have really been around the block, by the time I stop making them. It’s like the more worked ones are the tough guys on the block, and can be quite repulsive. I try not to hold it against a painting when this has come about effortlessly. Style is just another tool, so I feel pretty casual about working a range of them. I crave erratic difference when experiencing art so my practice mirrors this desire.

Jasmine Justice, "Roxeana," 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 59 x 59 inches.

Jasmine Justice is currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. She attended the AtelierFrankfurt International Residency Program in 2009. Solo exhibitions include AtelierFrankfurt, Frankfurt, DE in 2010 and the CUE Art Foundation, New York, NY, curated by David Reed in 2007. Earlier this year, Justice had a two-person exhibition with Elizabeth Cooper at Kulturwerk t-66 in Freiburg, DE. Group exhibitions include The Working Title, Bronx River Art Center curated by Progress Report, 2011; False Friends, curated by Gerrit Gohlke at the Brandenburgischer Kunstverein in Potsdam, DE, 2010; and Unlikely, curated by Leo DeGoede, which traveled to Galerie Kienzle & Gmeiner, Berlin, the Städische Galerie Waldkraiburg, Waldkraiburg and the Kunstverein Konstanz, in Germany and to W139 in Amsterdam from 2007-2009.

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