Unrequited Love 2015

Photo: Klas Forster
ink, acrylic, and vinyl paint on canvas 100 100cm x 80 cm

Truck Stop (Blueberry Pie) 2016

Photo: Ben Hermani
ink, acrylic, and vinyl paint on canvas 100 60cm x 50 cm

private collection

Tickle and Pinch 2016

Photo: Klas Forster
ink, acrylic, and vinyl paint on canvas 100 60 cm x 50 cm

Spice Clock 2016

Photo: Ben Hermani
ink, acrylic, and vinyl paint on canvas 100 60 cm x 50 cm

You might notice I use a range of marks, from loose and loopy to tightly stenciled—and that at times I compose with text, symbols, info-graphics, or layers of sprayed, splattered, and scraped liquids. I don’t differentiate between drawing and painting.

In my works you can also find soil, clay, plants, lit candles, rubber insects, cartoon monsters, rocks, and aromatic herbs.

I feel a compulsion to experiment with the space around an artwork. I think of who they might become when they leave the studio, how might they might change or participate in unknown spaces or social contexts. Can they be a part of new kinds of thought and entertainment spaces?

I’m for diverse conversations

I don’t find it useful to categorize visual languages into non-specific words like “abstraction,” unless it’s to talk about why and where their boundaries might be perceived, and how the meanings of these categories change both in the long and short term. I notice and play with how modes of visual thought can be combined—smashed together. I feel my work and my practice to be wrapped up in a rapidly changing expression of all humanity as it races toward extinction.

Let’s talk: Jasmine@jasminejustice.com

JASMINE JUSTICE by VITTORIO COLAIZZI from: Fact Tricks exhibition catalog Städtische Galerie Waldkraiburg 2016

“We guarantee disappointment.”

 This slogan was adopted by performance art troupe COUM Transmissions in the mid-1970s. COUM soon mutated into the pioneering noise group Throbbing Gristle. By the time I heard them in the late 1980s, they were ancient history, but true to form, their tinny, warbling sound was profoundly disappointing to someone accustomed to the more fulsome and ultimately conventional noises of Swans or Einstürzende Neubauten.

Jasmine Justice’s paintings never fail to disappoint, because, like Throbbing Gristle, they disallow a secure understanding of what painting can be, precisely within a discourse where the furthest reaches of visual and conceptual coherence have long been breached. Justice’s remarkable accomplishment is to create this feeling of non-recognition with paint and canvas. It is in her very touch and configuration, in one painting and the next where her voice is most vivid, and therefore most difficult to parse. This is because that voice is one of belligerent passivity (which is not the same as passive aggression). With an obverse plentitude that has nothing to do with the cultivated nonchalance and cheap provocation making headlines of late, Justice offers gauche masses, sprinkled zones and insistent line-work that together refuse the bombastic gestures—in paint, format, or attitude—to which she is heir. 

Surface Veil

Robert Ryman gave this title to a number of paintings that explore texture, layering, and other conditions of plentitude, without a hint of negation. I bring up negation not because of Ryman’s white, but because the layering of tape and paper in the art of collage, which Justice also practices in wall-and-floor-bound works, must invoke, for an artist educated after the 1980s, not the “plasticity” and “monumentality” to which Greenberg points, but rather Krauss’s semiotic bent, wherein “The field is thus constituted inside itself as a figure of its own absence, an index of a material presence now rendered literally invisible.” Collage, according to Krauss, works “against modernism’s search for perceptual plentitude and unimpeachable self-presence.” Krauss is correct inasmuch as Picasso’s collages work away from representation, but one hundred years on, when both representation and abstraction have been so thoroughly negated, the primary act of Justice’s collages is not obfuscation or negation, but positive proposition of elements in the unlikeliest of relationships. As if to test the resilience of this positivity, Justice literally holds The Hunger together with a universal sign of negation, a white X that secures a pile of black cutout zigzags alongside two other pieces that are somehow both whole and fragmentary. Here again comes some of the anti-graceful disappointment mentioned above, as Justice travesties Matisse’s cutouts into something that, against all odds, preserves their vitality and majesty, miraculously without snark. Unlike Krauss’s vision and similar to Ryman’s, the bits and pieces Justice places together are themselves gestures, and gesture is one of the most problematic–that is to say, productive–elements in painting.

“You’ve got to move with it.” 

Years after the fact, Throbbing Gristle’s guitarist characterized her slide-driven squalls in the song Persuasion as notes of resistance in counterpoint to its lecherous lyrics. The professed meaningfulness of the isolated chunks of guitar noise at the precise historical moment (punk music and fashion, postmodern art and theory) when so many cultural memes were undergoing semiotic estrangement and nullification provides an instructive parallel with Justice’s work in opposition to some other abstract painters. Richter, Lasker, and Greenbaum, for example, are duly celebrated for having engendered recognizable visual worlds. It is not at all certain, however, whether a stroke turning this way or that, a nub placed here or there, or a branching network’s precise color or direction would matter within one of these artists’ quirky fields. In Justice’s paintings, the opposite is true. Each element is distinct and necessary. Krauss’s account 

of collage is that it “signifies or represents” its own picturing, thus creating an analytical distance that has gone on to pervade abstraction. The alternative is not hot-headed expressionism, but as we have seen, effective agency remains possible on a local level. Here is where Justice opposes the drift of painting today by making each mark a cry of protest by virtue of its immediate environment. It creates, not a literary, narrative meaning, but a visual one.

Justice’s accumulated tracings of antiquated draughtsmen’s tools and divided pie charts seem to promise quantifiable information but deliver only flagrantly intuitive imagery, such as a fan of white curves radiating from a single point, strikingly far from the still-prevalent impulse to the all-over.  It is amazing how steadily the pull of the all-over is felt, and how its violation still stops us short.  She shows that one of the most transgressive things one can do is to stake one’s work’s identity, one’s works’ identities, on the musics of each composition, on the things that one makes happen in each picture, and she does it not only with the mark (and not necessarily the gesture, but the incremental, indirectly handmade form), but also with and through collage. Collage, for Justice, conditions but does not absorb her paintings. Things are imported and juxtaposed, but the cut does not reign supreme, and disjunction does not wield a conceptual hammer across her compositions.  

 1. Interview with Genesis P-Orridge by Vale, Re-Search # 4/5: A Special Book Issue: William S. Burroughs, Brion Gyson and Throbbing Gristle (1982):71.

2. Clement Greenberg, “Collage,” Art and Culture: Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 77, 83.

3. Rosalind Krauss, “In the Name of Picasso,” The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (Cambridge and London: MIT, 1985) 37, 38.

 4. Barnett Newman, interview with Karlis Osis, 1963 or 62, Barnett Newman Foundation Archives, in Carol C. Mancusi-Ungaro, “Barnett Newman: Involved Intuition at the Highest Level,” Shiff, Richard, Carol C. Mancusi-Ungaro, and Heidi Colsman-Freyberger, eds., Barnett Newman: A Catalogue Raisonné (New York: Barnett Newman Foundation; New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004), 123. The fuller statement reads: “[E]very stroke one makes is violent: because once you make it[,] it’s there and you’ve got to handle it.  You’ve got to move with it.”

5. Interview with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti, in Drew Daniel, 20 Jazz Funk Greats [album by Throbbing Gristle] (London and New York: Continuum, 2008), 108.

 6. Krauss, 37.