Jasper Goodrich

PILING

April 17 - May 29, 2021

Opening reception: 

Saturday, April 17, 3-7pm

No appointments necessary for opening*

Email info@extasechicago.com for address

"Earlier this year, I was making a series in my studio working mostly from memories, forms from past works, photographs, and imagined landscapes. In an impulse to switch up my way of working, I took a canvas outside. My studio is located in Chicago at the confluence of interstate 90, 55, and 94. It feels like an artery, or at least the meeting place of some of the major veins of the city. Holding up the highways are these enormous concrete pilings. Perhaps like a landscape painter’s affinity towards trees, I was drawn to the column. I focused on where the column and sidewalk converged, placing the bottom of the column almost in the center of the horizontal image. I also drew the architecture of the sidewalk and a fence and tree in the distance. I finished the painting in my studio, but soon realized I was not done with this form. I started repeating the composition, making fractal changes as I painted iteration after iteration. I tried different painting approaches, using a variety of surfaces ranging from glossy to matte, made prints, and accepted tangents. The sidewalk started changing from a hard lined, slightly curving form, to a bulbous, squiggly mass pushing against the left edge of the image. Shapes started to intersect the column, building upon its energy, but introducing new referents and emotions to the work. It gained and lost history, as it morphed into something new...” – Jasper Goodrich

Extase is pleased to present PILING, a solo exhibition of new work by Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist Jasper Goodrich. The show is comprised of paintings, prints, photographs, and sculptures from the last nine months. Many of the works in PILING  begin with a shared source. In this instance it is the column, as described in Goodrich’s statement above. Memory, as well as photographs of the column, were used as source material for the ten paintings on linen that extend floor to ceiling in the gallery. The ebullient paintings illustrate Goodrich’s method of working iteratively, in sequences and permutations. Most of the paintings contain the form of the column, some more distorted and nebulous than others. Even in the paintings where the column is most rendered, they still remain largely abstracted, with the image appearing cropped and zoomed in. 

Occupying the closet, or the nave as it is being referred to during this exhibition, are nine metal brackets and one wooden sculpture. Some brackets live in pairs, as the word ‘bracket’ denotes, while others exist autonomously, as is the case with the aforementioned elongated wooden, staff-like sculpture. The metal works were constructed primarily through the process of torch welding, or oxyacetylene welding, the primary welding technique available during the early 20th century before the invention of electric welding. The welds produced with this method look textured, allowing the viewer to sense the molten connection of two planes of steel.

Though the industrial material of metal is not corporeal in and of itself, the arrangements of the brackets are. The left wall of the walk-in space is flanked with a set that is reminiscent of shins; the wall-bound works are low to the ground and possess rounded surfaces. These sculptures were originally conceived to serve as brackets on either side of images as a framing tool. Goodrich frequently looks towards music and writing, and when one envisions the original conception of these metal works, a tempo can be detected. On this once again iterative process, where the brackets morphed from being used as a framing device for paintings to become sculptures living in their own dedicated space within the gallery, Goodrich has stated: “I think of the brackets as engaging with both the history and structure of images, but articulated in sculptural materials. The brackets were made to serve a function: to act as a structure to put images in-between. With the use of brackets, I could make sentences with images. When making, I like establishing structures to be free within. Although once I started making the brackets, they took on a life of their own and became their own thing.”

Goodrich’s work has always exhibited multiplicity in some way, but since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the artist’s exploration of iteration has taken on a new life. Goodrich teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Marwen, and the Hyde Park Art Center (HPAC). At the beginning of the pandemic, he created a new online class at HPAC titled “Sequences, Iterations, and Permutations” (SIP). In this course, artists work in groups of images, submit drafts and storyboards, and are influenced by a wide range of mediums from video art and fashion, to dance and visual art. The class focuses on intuition, image structure, time, interludes, beginnings, and endings. According to Goodrich, creating in SIP is like writing with images and it gets personal quickly. Now in its fifth term, SIP has expanded serial ways of working past the artist’s studio, signaling the social possibilities of iteration.  

On either side of the gallery entrance are quiet black and white photographs taken on film of the aforementioned column – a pause before the maximal installation of the exhibition. The photographs are from a collaboration with Chicago-based artist Ethan Barrett. Jasper and Ethan became friends in the SIP class mentioned above. Their work is influenced by a collaborative project Goodrich started at the beginning of 2020, involving about twenty artists. Called the “Producer Project,” Goodrich mimicked the relationship of a producer to a musician, but in the context of the visual arts. On this he explains:

Making in the studio can get lonely. Before an album is released, musicians utilize producers and mastering engineers, to hone and finesse the songs utilizing equipment and techniques not available to the musician. I have always wondered why this doesn't happen in the arts more often... for someone to come in and add new elements and expertise at the end of a project. Ethan is a great photographer and I had always wanted to shoot on film. What started as the need for one photograph as the ‘introduction image’ to the show, grew to a series of 115 photographs shot on 120mm and 35mm film. Our collaboration includes a complete portfolio of all 115 photographs printed on a Fuji Frontier, framed photographs of our favorites, and a collage made from photo transfers, relief prints, paint, and other materials. We also printed an additional portfolio where the viewer is invited to take one image home with them as a gift.

The final element of this exhibition is, quite literally, a pile of smaller works painted in oil, casein, egg tempera, and egg oil emulsion paint, primarily on panels, stacked at the entrance of the gallery. This pile references all the other works that go into an iteration that may look different, but seep into the main series. The pile shows the importance of tangents, is a moment of joy, and makes the artist smile.

The subject of many of the paintings – the concrete column holding up the highways – is located just outside the artist’s studio. In some ways this exhibition is about the artist’s studio. How the act of making can provide solace, dialogue, and friendship in a year of isolation. But this show is not just about an artist working alone in the studio. It teeters between personal, idiosyncratic practices and collaborative, social ways of thinking about iteration. 

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Jasper Goodrich is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist who was born in  New York, NY (1989) and grew up in Connecticut. He holds an MFA in Printmedia from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018) and a BS in Art from Skidmore College (2011). Goodrich’s work has been exhibited nationally in venues in Illinois, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. He has received grants, awards, and/or residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, Ox-Bow School of Art, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center, and the National Iron Casting Conference. Goodrich teaches at the Hyde Park Art Center, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Printmedia Department and Early College Program, and Marwen, where he leads courses on Sci-fi/fantasy, futurism, and world building. He works in a variety of mediums including printmaking, painting, photography, video, and sculpture.

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