Jason Hoelscher

Savannah, Georgia, USA

My paintings result from a determination to make art that can stand up to the rigors of  “official” art world aesthetic judgment and critique, yet still possess enough visual impact and oomph to engage the vernacular glance of the untrained eye. In other words, to make paintings that work within and contribute to the cultural context of “fine art,” while also being just plain cool enough to be worth looking at by the average person who, while not formally learned in contemporary art, is quite visually sophisticated from a lifetime of iconographic and logotypic training via the mass media.

Through exploring this aesthetic interzone, I’ve arrived at works that acknowledge a simple truth: Embedded as we are within an attention economy, there are too many things vying for our focus. As with everything else, artworks often receive only a fleeting glance from viewers trained on quick-edit TV flashcuts and cross-pollinated, recombinant media. If it’s to be the case that even an informed observer who likes a painting might give it only a minute of viewing time, then I believe there should be enough there to capture interest in that flashbulb burst of attention, a sort of aggressive and in-your-face terseness. Just as the early modernist painters had to deal with the perceptual changes wrought by the invention of the camera, I believe that today’s painters have to address contemporary changes in perceptual processing speeds, information intake and attention span, and make these changes our own.

Beyond the initial gestalt read, however, there are elements of the paintings that reward additional attention: the use of classical geometry like the golden section; interplays between illusionism and literality; self-reflexive strategies regarding the work’s status as a mediated aesthetic object; and the creation of a pictorial space that combines an abstraction of Renaissance depth with a representation of modernist flatness. I do not consider my paintings to be strictly representational or non-objective; to the extent that they can be considered “abstract,” the process of abstraction proceeds from elements that are already abstract, if not virtual, to begin with.

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