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JJ Manford: View From Gowanus

April 10 – May 16, 2021
 

Harper's East Hampton
87 Newtown Lane
East Hampton, NY 11937

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JJ Manford: View From Gowanus

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Harper’s is pleased to announce View From Gowanus, an exhibition of 19 recent paintings by Brooklyn-based artist JJ Manford at the gallery’s East Hampton location. Building on a prolific career as a studio artist and curator, Manford has playfully merged these two practices into his current body of work. His radiant compositions of domestic interiors portray pictures within pictures, juxtaposing references to international Modern artists with products from commercial culture. The show opens on Saturday, April 10, which will be attended by the artist in the afternoon.

View From Gowanus takes its name from the neighborhood that houses Manford’s studio, an area located at the northwestern corner of Brooklyn. The hyperlocal title is purposely discordant with the worldly taste of the imaginary dwellings he depicts. Objects from abroad such as fine art and furniture, souvenirs, and merchandise find themselves under one roof in his pictorial arrangements. Manford’s practice is inspired by the increasing accessibility of tourism and the global market, which has transformed the scope of visual culture and brought forth a cosmopolitan sensibility in everyday domesticity. Throughout the exhibition, illustrations of an Agnes Martin rug, a Joan Miró canvas, and a Piet Mondrian shower curtain commingle with a lava lamp, a flamingo lawn ornament, and children’s toys. With a subtle sense of humor, Manford’s work celebrates the fact that anyone has an opportunity to become an aesthete by acquiring products of high culture as well as their consumer-grade reproductions. The orderly ambiance of these uninhabited living spaces suggests that the quarters are meant to be displayed rather than occupied, as if world culture can be contemplatively experienced within the enclosures of Manford’s cultivated interiors.

Manford’s painterly technique further accentuates the material presence of the images. Beginning with gradients of flashe undercoatings on linen or burlap surfaces, he then generously scumbles layers of oil stick and pastel to render his interiors. Clumps of pigment accumulate within the toothy interlacing of the fibers, forming rich pockets of chroma that compliment the earthy tones of the linen and burlap substrates. Compositionally, Manford often distorts the geometry of linear perspective to give his virtual spaces a feeling of fullness within the picture frame, at times creating surreal atmospheres. Corridors are elongated and flattened as in The Waiting Room and The Drafting Table, or three-dimensional space is wholly abstracted as in Moon and Sun / Interior with Kachina Doll & Joan Miro. The enlivened compositions, colorful palette, and textured surfaces generate an inviting mood for the viewer, much like a welcome mat at the doorstep. 

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JJ Manford
The Cheshire Keys
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 24 in

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JJ Manford
New American Painting
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
78.5 x 133.5 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
The Waiting Room
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on burlap over canvas
72 x 84 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Moon and Sun / Interior with Kachina Doll & Joan Miro
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
72 x 60 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Upstate Interior with Dalmatian, Eddie Arning, and Shaker Rug
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
60 x 50 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Interior with Sunflowers
2019
Oil stick and oil pastel on burlap over canvas
60 x 48 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Home Studio (Life & Death)
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
46 x 40 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Dreamt of an Owl in a Circular Room
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
40 x 46 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Interior with Agnes Martin Rug & Vuillard Reproduction
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
40 x 46 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Bathroom Scene with Mondrian Shower Curtain, Siamese Cat, and Beach Painting
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
24 x 20 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Goodnight City
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on hemp
30 x 36 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Cobras
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
36 x 30 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Fuck Fear
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
36 x 30 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Still Life with Mexican Vase
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
The Donald Duck Sweater at the Outdoor Flea Market
2020
Oil pastel and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
Upstate Interior with Stuffed Tiger, Moroccan Rug & Albert Pinkham Ryder
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

Inquire
JJ Manford, Upstate Diner Scene, 2019

JJ Manford
Upstate Diner Scene
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 24 in

Inquire

JJ Manford
The Cheshire Keys
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 24 in

JJ Manford
New American Painting
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
78.5 x 133.5 in

JJ Manford
The Waiting Room
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on burlap over canvas
72 x 84 in

JJ Manford
Moon and Sun / Interior with Kachina Doll & Joan Miro
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
72 x 60 in

JJ Manford
Upstate Interior with Dalmatian, Eddie Arning, and Shaker Rug
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
60 x 50 in

JJ Manford
Interior with Sunflowers
2019
Oil stick and oil pastel on burlap over canvas
60 x 48 in

JJ Manford
Home Studio (Life & Death)
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
46 x 40 in

JJ Manford
Dreamt of an Owl in a Circular Room
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
40 x 46 in

JJ Manford
Interior with Agnes Martin Rug & Vuillard Reproduction
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
40 x 46 in

JJ Manford
Bathroom Scene with Mondrian Shower Curtain, Siamese Cat, and Beach Painting
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
24 x 20 in

JJ Manford
Goodnight City
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on hemp
30 x 36 in

JJ Manford
Cobras
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
36 x 30 in

JJ Manford
Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

JJ Manford
Fuck Fear
2021
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
36 x 30 in

JJ Manford
Still Life with Mexican Vase
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

JJ Manford
The Donald Duck Sweater at the Outdoor Flea Market
2020
Oil pastel and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

JJ Manford
Upstate Interior with Stuffed Tiger, Moroccan Rug & Albert Pinkham Ryder
2020
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 16 in

JJ Manford, Upstate Diner Scene, 2019

JJ Manford
Upstate Diner Scene
2019
Oil stick, oil pastel, and flashe on linen
20 x 24 in

Press


INTERVIEW

by Emily Burns for Maake Magazine


 


"For a while now, I've been interested in the optical mixture in my paintings, which is very much an Impressionist and Pointillist method of capturing the evasive quality of light in painting. A big revelation for me was when I looked up close at a Seurat painting and realized that he wasn't stippling obsessively all the time, but dry brushing top layers over very toothy linen. I took this idea and applied it to the burlap: the stretched burlap has many raised areas, which act as 'points,' or peaks, that catch the oil stick as I drag it across the surface. This top layer then vibrates with the 'valleys,' which are the underlying colors, painted in flashe, that reach the more recessed areas of the material."



 


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JJ Manford (b. 1983, Boston, MA) received a BFA from Cornell University in 2006, a Post-Baccalaureate certificate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009, and an MFA from Hunter College in 2013. Most recently, his work has been exhibited in solo and two-person presentations at Derek Eller Gallery, New York; Arts + Leisure Gallery, New York; John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY; and Freight + Volume Gallery, New York. Both Manford’s artwork and curatorial projects have been reviewed in Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint, and White Hot Magazine, among other publications. His first catalog, Greenport Magic, was published by Arts + Leisure in 2017. Manford currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY where he is a co-founder of the artist collective Underdonk as well as an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute.