Is a collage comprised of assembled painted canvases a collage, a painting, or assemblage art? Does the semantics even matter? “Jabberwocky,” Josh Jefferson’s exhibition at Zevitas Marcus, plays with these boundaries. Jefferson created the collages (the gallery has labeled the works as ‘collages,’ so I’ll call them the same) by layering hand-painted pieces of cut out canvas. The canvas pieces of varying shapes and sizes sit on top of each other to create unique forms and compositions.
Jefferson’s paintings move—or at least appear to. A color theory lover’s dream, “Jabberwocky” explores abstraction through repetitive markings and topsy-turvy patterns. Each of the forms is unequivocally organic, in keeping with Jefferson’s color palette—particularly the earth-toned yellow in many of the works. And while the collages are comprised of repetitive markings, the imagery within the exhibition also has repeated imagery. Mrs. Nibbs (all works 2017) and Red Roses have strikingly similar compositions while Moon Man and The Walking Man are clearly abstract representations of figures with similar compositions as well.
On the note the aforementioned pieces, it becomes obvious that Jefferson has thrown viewers a bone in revealing (or suggesting) what the abstract forms are. A personal favorite is Reclining Nude With Lollipop. I’m not sure if I would have seen a nude figure or a lollipop, but because Jefferson suggested it I can’t help but put the pieces together to form that image in my head.
With all of these moving parts, “Jabberwocky” is as playful as the title suggests. While the works seem to be created by experimentation rather than clear intention, they are nonetheless as effective in the end. One can’t help but revel in the fun.
Josh Jefferson, “Jabberwocky,” January 6 – February 24, 2018, at Zevitas Marcus, 2754 S La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034. zevitasmarcus.com