Jin Jeong: Grounded
May 15 through June 18, 2022
By ALFRED ROSENBLUTH, June 2022
From May 15th to June 18th, Half Gallery presented in their East Village gallery Grounded: a solo show of the abstract painter Jin Jeong. Most recently inspired by artists such as Agnes Pelton and Wassily Kandinsky, Jin produces vibrant, biomorphic abstract landscapes that preserve and relate her emotional and intuitive impulses. As its title implies, this show highlights the artist’s efforts to orchestrate and ground such forms’ potentially turbulent complexity under the fixed element of gravity as conjured by the presence of an implied horizon.
Each painting’s striking presence features the range of her palette in varying amplitudes, providing Jin broad confines within which to demonstrate her facility. It is from within the resulting layers of interwoven color and volumes that delicate narratives emerge. In Not a Simple Emotion, the heat of pulsing red stumbles over cool greens, encased within yawning tones of blue that darken and branch into an alien landscape. Here, one may detect the coexistence of an image’s opposing concepts such as entrapment and protection.
Contrasts of texture and space likewise function as points of release between optical tensions. In Ventilation, thin washes of pigmented columns lean against rich, flat segments of acrylic matte. Despite the centrality of Jin’s subjectivity in her paintings, their forms act as a biomorphic structure for our own.
In Revitalization, the horizon’s crimson ribbons flow between flexing neon arches - for a brief moment we can detect their implied transparency. Towards the bottom-right, a flat shock of neon pink curves below an exposure of canvas encased within gradients of blue. Like all her paintings, this work evidences Jin’s proclivity to incorporate multiple dialects of abstraction. Such a syncretic approach allows for her intuitive, emotional responses to take shape in service to a stream of consciousness mode of processing.
As far from representation as her larger “emotional landscapes” drift, they do not resist replicating the effects of observable phenomena. This show in fact includes three smaller works in pencil, pastel and acrylic that push directly towards depicting material nature. Of these three, the piece, Stella, most explicitly indexes the relationship that Jin’s abstractions have to representational elements. One can discern an implied protagonist, Stella, crossing a desert road, her seeming flaxen hair blown skyward towards the distant mountains. Aside from Jeong activating our capacity to decipher a figure/ground composition, there is no particular element of this work that differentiates it from any other.
Returning to the element of gravity, we find that its presence enables these paintings’ dynamic coherence. This grounding force which references representation, does not provoke the question of whether her forms possess or transcend materiality but of how their vertical orientation to a horizon mirrors our perspective as earth-bound observers. Unique to her paintings is their capacity to present the sense of one's own self gazing onto a world from within. As abstraction generally speaks to the realm of intangible, intuitive experience, it is important that we have artists such as Jin Jeong whose sincere efforts provide a space in which we may safely explore this realm of human feeling while remaining grounded. WM