Monday, May 19, 2008

Jess and Persian Narrative Painting

My previous blog was inspired by the exhibition, Jess, at the Cooley. Having just seen Persian Narrative Painting at the Portland Art Museum, I'm aware of similarities.

Jess produced numerous collages for books and magazines. He worked with poets and writers to produce limited-editions. Many of his collages were for these publications. The Persian paintings are, I think, entirely from manuscripts.

Jess' collages were often dense, structurally chaotic compositions. They resemble some of the Persian paintings in the way that a myriad of perspectives and sub narratives are combined in one image.

Jess appropriated the work of artists and photographers through the collage. In a sense, his collages were a group effort, with individual parts completed by a team, and with Jess taking the task of composing all the parts into a whole. Likewise, the Persian paintings were typically a group effort, with different individuals specializing in things like figures, animals, patterns, or foliage.

Jess' paintings in which he meticulously painted over prints compare in intricacy and detail with the Persian prints. The coloration is even similar.

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