Jennie C. Jones @ The Kitchen
Jennie C. Jones Absorb / Diffuse and Joe Winter’s The Stars Below are separate exhibitions sharing two gallery spaces at The Kitchen in Chelsea. Upon first entering the largely empty gallery filled with a series of minimal looking possible paintings floating on the wall at The Kitchen I immediately felt a connection to them that urged me to go closer and explore a little more. When I turned the corner into the gallery and walked around Sustained Black with Broken Time and Undertone, the pinkish red fluorescent acrylic on the right border of the canvas reverberated off the white wall and illuminated it in such a way that it was hard to think that this effect could happen without the use of a specific light source and solidified my initial feeling that these could be more than just monochromatic paintings. They are grouped on the wall alone or sometimes with another one or two paintings close by, but never straying from an eye level reading with the exception of a series of drawings on paper, Long, Low, Rest (semibreve) which are hung closer to the ground and are the only framed pieces in the exhibit. The paintings are a mix of materials that can be deceptive…I wondered if these elements were painted or could they be some other type of material? The low humming music that plays in the gallery from a speaker placed in the corner suggests that these paintings also have a musical component to them, not only in subject matter but in the way they are produced as well. The all encompassing blackness that raises above the canvas in some works seems to be the same black panel that the stereo uses to diffuse its sound. The lulling sound fills the gallery space as it plays for a few short minutes and then stops and starts again a minute or two later. The sequencing can be barely noticeable if you are not listening to it closely. It plays a soft bass notes that are not quite traceable but certainly melodic.
At first I thought the sound came from the back gallery as I searched to find what the source could be, but there I was met with more works heavily cloaked in the color black. Here, Joe Winter’s A Record of Events (II), a series of dry erase panels and Verso, a large photograph with a swirling pattern that evokes a landscape did not pull me as much as the larger installation, The Stars Below. Rather than look at the installation the fake drop ceiling that hung over a series of black topped tables with a sort of melted candle like cylinder protruding from the centers urged me to look up and into the void, the center of the installation, and I wondered how often I had ever looked up at this gallery. Was the black ceiling always visible? Even if it was, it seemed to transcend it’s objecthood in this exhibit and actually reflected what was happening in the gallery. In Matthew Lyons’ grouping of these two artists we explore two different concepts of the void. In Jones’ work it acts as a space that has a hidden dimension, yet to be discovered, whereas Winters’ use of everyday materials such as a cork board reminds us that this void is our present and we are already immersed in it.