Oil stick, oil pastel, Flashe on hemp over panel
40 x 48 in
The majority of paintings by JJ Manford pictured here were made over the span of the pandemic. In this period of isolation and slowed time, Manford began to take a closer stock of the things around him, of his environment, and how he has curated his belongings in a way that is both personal, biographical, but also a projection of ideals, tastes, and aspirations. Manford found that the geometry of interior space gave him a useful template for depicting disparate pictorial elements (far ranging in cultural origin, both real and imagined). His new works use these elements to create a meta-image, combining content from various sources through painting and collage into a unified whole. Manford uses burlap and linen in his works because of their texture. He is highly sensitive to the interaction of colors. Rather than paint solid, opaque layers of color, he instead uses a process similar to the French Impressionists, applying an underpainting that reacts with top layers of color that are scumbled on the paintings’ surfaces. This ends up creating a pulsating, vibratory, almost psychedelic and hallucinatory surface that has a relationship to the subject matter.
JJ Manford lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. He has had recent solo exhibitions at Derek Eller Gallery and Harper’s Gallery and has been included in group exhibitions at Alexander Berggruen Gallery, and Hesse Flatow, all New York. Manford co-founded the Brooklyn-based artist collective Underdonk, and has organized independent projects that have been featured in Hyperallergic, Two Coats of Paint, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and The New Yorker. He is an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute and Borough of Manhattan Community College.