Jennifer Wolf, “Gravitational Push”, 2015.
Jennifer Wolf discovers minerals from all over the world, from which she then makes her own mineral pigment paint, giving each piece an archaeological and emotional presence. Every painting signifies the mineral locations she mines to create naturalistic abstract masterpieces. Wolf’s new solo exhibition “Edge of Miscibility” is at William Turner Gallery, which is known for their exhilarating contemporary artwork, at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica.
“I approach each piece with freedom of expression and a fascination with the craft of paint,” says Wolf. “In Speed of Sight, for example, the staining of the canvas with natural dyes prior to pouring the viscous paint creates a constructed ground that exists on a different plane than the top layer of poured paint, which also features a dynamic pattern created by the interface between two fluids. These grounds feature expression through mark making while the top layer of poured paint and pattern reveal my interest in the craft of paint making. In my opinion, it is the combination of these elements that speak to the personal authenticity of my work.”
Some of her paintings appear topographical and others as if seen beneath the surface of a sea-like mass. While with former series Wolf had been strict about grinding minerals separately from each location, for “Edge of Miscibility” she has evolved into mixing the various minerals. “I love exploring the particularities of color and expanding my self-imposed parameters,” says Wolf, “so this latest body of work combines the South American material Cochineal with Indigo, originally from the Indus valley.”
The wide spectrum of mixed colors in Wolf’s paintings have many transitions from darks to lights, that evolve into shapes that are transparent or thickly opaque. All of these configurations have great motion. Upon viewing her imaginative paintings, we feel as though we are entering an exquisite destination.
Explains Wolf, “What I discovered early on was that paint is basically the combination of two elements, a binder or glue and a powder or pigment. After much exploration with different types of mediums, from egg tempera to traditional linseed oils, I have found a particular combination of acrylic mediums that act the way I want them too. My greatest challenge is to get all of these elements to agree with my intentions on a large scale and produce a work that both the viewer and myself can enter, explore and appreciate that these colors are born from nature.”
There are reams of light in Jennifer Wolf’s paintings, which seem to originate from a hidden source and move about as the sun does upon the ocean. In the painting Law of Gravitas, the light and weight of shapes relay a kind of profound message, perhaps about the discovery of light and movement of energy in nature. Colors are unveiled in a remarkable range in many of her paintings.
“One of the benefits of creating such a specific palette is that I can manipulate the raw material in ways that contribute to the illumination of each color,” says Wolf. “I am interested in creating light events, or pockets of light, that feel as though you can enter them and experience the essence of that color.”Natural dyes, powder pigment and mineral pigment all require a different production method. Wolf shares, “In order to create a finer micron powder that allows for a more saturated color, I further process the grind using my own customized tools and techniques. The powder pigments are also mineral based but are sourced already pulverized from Roussillon in Provence, France. In my “Edge of Miscibility” series, I use the natural dyes as both a stain on the ground as well as a transparent tint in the acrylic medium. Staining the grounds involves the use of mordant, which serves to expand the spectrum of colors.”
Jennifer Wolf’s “Edge of Miscibility” is full of deep, swelling, oceanic gestures, recognizable abstractions resonating familiarity but not representation, utilizing abstract elements – from color variations to textures – to simulate her process. The result are fascinating works of simultaneous intrigue and ease.
“Edge of Miscibility” is showing at William Turner Gallery through January 23, 2016.
Images courtesy of Jennifer Wolf and William turner Gallery.