On View...ORDINARY MAGIC

Interior Realities:

Paintings and Monoprints by Jane Bergenn at C.G. Jung Center Gallery through March 4th

The exhibition statement includes a quote from 20th Century Swiss artist, Alberto Giacometti:

“Art interests me very much but truth interests me infinitely more.“

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………………….PURE BEING (Detail)

Jane Bergenn’s paintings point to the essence (truth) of things as they are. Upon entering the gallery rooms housed in a Victorian flat on Franklin Street by the oldest tree in Buffalo, you will find a sense of comfort and peace. The walls glisten with color and light. At first glance, the  large rectangular paintings may appear to be tiles, stained glass, quilts, or ancient remains. She paints expressionistic renditions of elemental forms on playing card or postcard sized papers. Each canvas is mounted with several dozen of the tile-like paintings to create a whole of repetitive imagery–geometric mantras of vessel, statuary, pyramid, circle, and spiral. The artist’s "Interior Realities” seem to embrace chaos in a process of methodical order.

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…………………….TOWARD THE ONE (Detail)

“Happiness is the longing for repetition,” wrote author Milan Kundera. There is something innately pleasing in the balance and harmony found in the repetition of triangles, circles, squares and rectangles. Chaos is a form of order that lacks predictability—pattern offers the comfort of knowing what’s ahead. Geometric art has been employed by artisans since Greek and Roman antiquity. Repeat patterning and ornamentation is found in abundance in the art of Islamic cultures. Minimalist and conceptual artists since1960 have utilized repetition and geometric forms. The work of sculptor, Eva Hesse, humanized the precision of this approach. Her introspective process of repeating and accumulating basic shapes became a way to consider the relationships between forms and enlarge an idea for the purpose of expressing an interior state. Bergenn’s work is aligned with this lineage.

It is also informed by many years of contemplative practices, such as meditation, yoga, and qigong. She explains her work as an attempt to document how contemplative practices require her to “pattern into” herself a state of surrender. The paintings may appear to be an assembly of similar creations, yet a closer look reveals an array of difference. Each individual work is built with layers of vibrant tones, metallic sheen, and texture—watery hues bleed from the edges to stain the mounted canvas.

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………………SOUND OF THE BELL (Detail)

The artist’s process of painting the same image over and over bestows it with weight, but there is no hidden trickiness. The imagery simply appears and dissolves in her variations on a theme, as if decaying in time. She incorporates figures found in statuary forms of Buddha (the awakened one) and Prajnaparamita (representative of the highest form of wisdom). The painting titled “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form” reflects a fundamental point of view found in eastern Buddhist culture. Jane Bergenn’s brush chants this theme in other titles, such as “Dissolution of Form,” “Emanating from Within,” and “Tides of Being.” The paintings tap into the magical hum of ordinary existence that is human life.

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February 2014…

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