Jered Sprecher says something about painting. As Sprecher speaks, just underneath my skin, the blood starts dancing. Pulsing its ruby hips along to a great horn section, a mildly panicked Bossa Nova heartbeat. This is circa 2001, and Jered is a year or two ahead of me at the college we were at, and he was thoughtful about painting. He thought about the surface, and he thought about abstraction. He thought about what painting meant to other people. On the other hand, my education was from the school of immaturity, famous for using the word vomit and bad jokes in poor taste. I learned from him, and began to look seriously at paintings as more than an image. Today, Jered’s paintings are even stronger evidence of his thoughtfulness and clarity of vision.
Sprecher’s new paintings combine abstraction with imagery. Some of the images are based on variations of a single photograph of three pigeons or doves. When painting, Sprecher worked on some of the pieces with a process of moving from top left to bottom right, the same method a dot matrix printer uses, and other paintings used a more intuitive method of layering paint. The human, the machine, the image, and the abstraction live together in this wor/k/ld.
Jered Sprecher has a solo show, Half Moon Maker, at Steven Zevitas Gallery in Boston. The show is up until May 10th, 2014. All photos courtesy of Steven Zevitas Gallery. Below you can find an interview with Jered about his newest paintings.
Jered Sprecher makes paintings that do not fit neatly into any category. At first they look like geometric abstraction, but then you realize that there is something different about the surface, it’s brushy and the edges of the shapes aren’t dogmatically hard like other geometric paintings. In his broader body of work there are images peppered in among the abstract elements, but the images are sort of soft pictures with interruptions, like paintings based on a faded calendar that was exposed to too much light in a hallway. Sprecher’s paintings seem to accept the modern idea that paintings are things, that paintings are first and foremost flat sculpture. This train of thinking says illusions are a kind of deception, which they are. Modernism goes a little further by hinting that illusions are lies that are also moral defects. This aversion to illusion brought us abstract artists like the evangelical Donald Judd, the graceful openness of Helen Frankenthaler, and the philosophical diagrams of Peter Halley. Enjoying painting as a window into an illusory world is a “mistake” everyone made until the 1940s, when some smart people came along and told us to be careful about it. Modernists say any artwork that hides its true nature is a metaphor for misunderstanding life in a bigger way. Sprecher does not seem to completely buy the modernist talking points, and like a bad political surrogate goes off message on a Sunday talk show, saying “Yes, but… I always lie!”
You can see Sprecher’s newest work in his show I Always Lie at Jeff Bailey Gallery in Chelsea until March 23rd. Interview after the jump.