To Be in Jordan Kasey's "Orbit"
Nicelle Beauchene Gallery is pleased to present Orbit, Jordan Kasey’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. Orbit comprises eight large-scale oil on canvas paintings in which the artist explores quiet moments that pulsate with a broad spectrum of feeling. Featuring Kasey’s characteristically stone-like, colossal figures, the new work marks a shift in focus towards depicting the relationship between a mother and a child. Whereas the subjects of the artist’s paintings have long been solitary and seemingly anonymous, here we witness the full intensity of parenthood, from the magnetic tug of attachment, coexistence, and care to more complex associations of compromise, fatigue, and isolation.
Metaphors of the planetary suggesting an inundation of feelings recur throughout the exhibition. Connection (2022, all other works 2023), demonstrates this exuberance in a burst of polychromatic euphoria; two bodies in orbit: an infant breastfeeding, held in the arms of a figure mostly out of frame. Under the glow of red, blue, and green lights and set against a starry sky, motherhood is here cast from the child’s perspective of boundless joy and comfort, as his reaching arms and hypnotic gaze beckon upwards toward the mother. Kasey’s play with color, composition, and scale (the child quite literally being larger than life) evoke the otherworldliness of this daily act of love and obligation. A more explicit tension unfolds in Push, Pull; in composite view, the child eclipses the mother, pulling her hair and pushing away her face.
Kasey is equally invested in playing with painting as a medium to broaden our language for experiencing color, light, and space within images. Kasey articulates this experimentation through building planes of highly varied texture. Surfaces within each painting shift from dense impasto—the knit of a sweater or smears of rain—to smooth, layered gradations. In Biking in the Rain, wide, dry brushstrokes build up the weathered skin of a biker’s hands, as diagonal slashes of thickly painted reflected light materialize the present storm.
The artist’s exaggerated application of scale serves as both a window into varying mental and interpersonal states as well as expressed understanding of the body as an architectural entity. In Mother and Sun, a burning star setting in a hot summer’s sky mirrors a child’s sleeping profile tucked away into the very bottom of the frame; sun and son are separated, and utterly outsized by, a mother’s exhausted stare and protective body. As this figure’s shoulder, arm, and head frame the sky, in another painting, Small Child’s View of a Lake, a world opens up through the window of two legs. In this uncharacteristically simple, almost abstract composition, the viewer perceives a landscape as a child would: with a certain disorientation and curiosity.