VIDEO: Jorge Queiroz at Sikkema Jenkins

“Some paint comes across directly onto the nervous system and other paint tells you the story in a long diatribe through the brain.” – Francis Bacon

A strong abstract painting should offer the audience an opportunity to approach it from a wide range of points and thus begin its own unique dialogue with the viewer. Jorge Queiroz‘s paintings, now on view at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. in New York do just that. The exhibition includes a variety of recent works by the Portuguese-born artist, who created paintings and drawings in this show while living in Berlin. Queiroz’s thought process, as well as the internal dialogue that determines the technique and the imagery are well illustrated here, and while the large-scale paintings demand attention simply through their  bold presence, the small watercolors placed throughout the exhibition are just as complete  pictorial sentences as the canvas paintings.  They require special attention to bring them froward from the large color fields of Early Cinema and The Intruder,  but the reward is well-worth the effort.

There is also a great junction of dynamic motion and contemplation throughout the exhibition. Objects and shapes seem to move through the picture plane at different speeds and directions, that are not mutually exclusive and allow for a unique communication and a dynamic sense of relation among them. Some elements seem to float unanchored through space, some weigh heavily on the bottom and some seem to come in and out of existence depending on whether you’re looking at them or not. Like one of Jorge Queiroz’s titles The Labyrinth suggests, his paintings are full of mazes. Emotional, psychological and dream states are the source of Queiroz’s imagery. Those familiar with the writings of Dostoyevsky, Jose Saramago or the Japanese novelist Yukio Mishima will instantly draw visual parallels between the characters’ emotional states in Dostoyevsky’s Notes from the Underground, Saramago’s The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis or even Mishima’s Confessions of a Mask. But rather than look for recognizable images, it’s best to follow the artist’s lead and let your mind roam and see how far you travel along this meandering path into the subconscious.

Interview transcript:

Jorge Queiroz: This moment, which is the moment of this show, is the moment where I still have some control over my work in terms of display. This arrangement of works and the shift from the scales from work to work, some shift of techniques and it’s objects is kind of the extension of these thoughts from the studio. The process of making work is always also the process of viewing the work. The situation to be in the studio, to do things in the studio I’m not related with anything I’m doing, everything is kind of part of the process. They are kind of reverse portraits, if they are portraits. They are also the way of relating to the world somehow, not in a diary type of sense but in a sense of a portrait of thoughts, of net of a mind. New painting is always related to the previous pantings, because layers on top of the layers, you know also outside of the world. I think this work here is maybe the loudest work.

You have some quality in there for different speed, different type of mark and that relates more to building a statement somehow and because of that I started to think about titles. Sometimes I go back a lot, I bring things again and I redo these things again because they have a different situation for these things and maybe they have a character to kind of the things that come from time to time. Like these corner pieces, I saw that in the drawings, I wanted to bring that into the space, but it just came from the work itself. I felt like bringing that shape into a real life.

In a beginning I kind of disagree with a painting until I arrive to the point when I have a conversation and it gets in there for a long time.

This article and video © galleryIntell. Images provided courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co. and © Jose Queiroz.