Friday, March 27, 2015

Abstracting Haiku

“I think we’re at this point now where we can play with paintings’ language.
Jason Stopa

Haiku in English is an adaptation of the formal Japanese poetic style of the same name whose major defining characteristic is the juxtaposition of two ideas, often contradictory, within its 17 syllables.  

The blogger Maria Calandra wrote about Jason Stopa on her blog Pencil in the Studio, stating “After spending more time with them, Stopa's paintings' unique relationship to language reveals itself, recalling Haiku poetry in particular. They have a similar directness of description, even in their abstraction that almost hovers above their subject matter.”

A child of the 1980’s and 90’s Stopa’s early years were spent in New Jersey. As he told the phinery blogMy mom is Black and my dad is White.  When they got married and had us kids in the late 70s/early 80s it was pretty controversial.  They both had rough roots and we were poor growing up.  I remember our block had a crack house and prostitutes on the corner.  The good ole days, lol.  But there were also these moments of hand clapping games, watching my sisters play double dutch and playing basketball till I overheated.  It wasn’t all bad.

Since graduating with a MFA from New York’s Pratt institute in 2010 Stopa has show his work in numerous group exhibitions and opened his fourth solo exhibition at the Hionas Gallery a couple of days ago. He also writes regularly for Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail and Whitewall Magazine as well as curating exhibitions. He is currently curating a group show for BOSI Contemporary on the Lower East Side, about which he says “Paramount to this exhibit is the artist’s capacity to employ simplicity of form and color to create images that are visually powerful.

But Stopa’s primary preoccupation is his painting. As he told Studio Critical, “As a painter, you always want to set up parameters that don't allow you to get bored.  One of the things I'm interested in is contradiction.  It seemed like the first half of the 20th century was about keeping metaphysics in painting - nothingness, mystery, sublime, existentialism etc.  Then the second half came along and threw it out.  I'm interested in creating an ambiguous space in a painting - shallow depth, physicality of texture and a touch and go sense of reality. This allows me to play, which is really what I want to do the most.”

Stopa’s current exhibition Double Trouble is on show at New York’s Hionas Gallery until the 25th of April.

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