INTERVIEW: Jared Flaming talks One Or The Other, Opening at High Line Loft
This week, the colorful work of Jared Flaming is part of a two-person exhibition, One Or the Other, curated by Natalie Kates and Anne Huntington, which opens May 17th to 21st at the High Line Loft ( 508 W 26th St, 5th fl) in Chelsea.
I talked with Jared about digital collage, art history and the importance of the brush stroke.
At first glance your work appears to be digital conglomerations. Can you talk a bit about your working method?
I start out on the computer. Photoshop has become my sketchbook. It is really conducive for figuring out compositions since you can just change things around, delete or add new images willy-nilly and you can always go back if you want. It is really freeing in that way. You don’t have to every worry about fucking anything up. I think it has made me more willing to change things up and take risks. I appropriate images from the web, art history and interior design and mix those with digital elements like simple line work and then once I feel good about a composition I execute it by hand in oil paints. Part of the fun of the work is how things transfer mediums from digital to paint.
I love that your pieces are juicy collages of text, brush and Pop imagery. Where do you find your source imagery? What are you drawn to?
My sources vary a lot. Art history is a common source but even that varies a lot between mediums and eras. I think part of my strategy is to varry sources enough so that a body of work never reads too formulaic. I don’t want someone to walk into a gallery, look at a few pieces and say ‘ok I get it.’ I want each piece to be as disparate to the body of work as it seems to belong. I want viewing the work to be an act of dissection rather then simply digesting it all.
I noticed that you mesh photorealism with an attention to the brushstroke- whether it is a replication of a digital marking, or an exaggeration reminiscent of a Lichtenstein illustration. Do you use these stroke to imply the hand of the artist?
Exactly. Without getting too technical there are different modes of how line work can communicate. If can be indexical and point to the action of its origin (think of a Pollack splatter). It can be memetic and resemble its referent (think of how the print button on a computer roughly looks like a printer). Or it can be symbolic language as in simple writing. I try to use line work and even images of brush work to walk a sort of tight rope in between these functions. So a digital line might slightly resemble the shape of a flower but also carries a strong feeling of the hand gesture that made it. All the while it isn’t actually a digital line it is a painted recreation simply resembling a digital line.
How to these elements (art historical sculpture, kitsch figures, brush strokes, text and patterns) create a new dialogue?
My whole modus operandi is to try to get away from the question of ‘what’ do things mean and towards asking ‘how’ do things mean. So you might recognize some images in my work but be lost on others. Something like a classical painting can be meshed with awkward digital lines. The hope is that it slows the mind from just jumping to the what and get lost in the how. I want the act of looking to be an unraveling of the images. I want them to be almost empty when you are done looking.
Tell us about the body of work included in One Or The Other.
This body of work spans the last year of production and ranges from rather large scale works to some more intimate sizes. Working in the smaller ones were really interesting since I usually work on a larger scale. They forced me to pare down the elements in the work and start figuring out what was really essential. It was an excercise in restraint. I try to carry approaches between work but wanted to vary subject matter as much as possible to make a dialogue that seemed unresolved and uncertain.
Its clear that you have a myriad of stylistic influences. What artists, genres or movements are you influenced by?
Some contemporary influences are Christopher Wool and Ed Rucha. You can really see them dissecting the the ‘how’ in their work – especially with their use of language. Man Ray and Picasso (predominately his collage work) are big interests of mine in a more art historical sense. Wallpaper patterns are something I’m attracted to. There is something almost nhialistic in how they barely resemble some flowers or something and it’s enough to just distract the eye. The way the pattern seems to self replicate is like a type of madness. Wool I think hit on this with his roller paintings.