By admission, Ben Jasper claims his art is “not especially precious.” To the contrary, Jasper’s works in acrylic and collage are serious, bold, weighty and feel important. His art invites, shines, provokes, and upon further reflection, it winks back at the viewer.
Jasper terms his visual output “refractions,” citing Arthur Rimbaud’s poetry as the source material for his ideas. Specifically, Jasper states: “my paintings are most often refractions of the shapes and forms I see around me. Painting is, after all, derivative. It comes from somewhere with my eyes, mind and hands working in unison to rescue (refract) the essential elements of what I see.” And what a vision this artist has.
Working in the hard-edge colorist manner, landscapes predominate in Jasper’s output. Having lived in Japan for some twenty years, a Japanese aesthetic is evident in his “Teahouse Series” and his multimedia collages. Spare. Elegant. Delicate. These works breathe deeply and openly in vast negative spaces.
In contrast, Jasper’s move back to the US, to the California desert of the Coachella Valley, in turn, informs his current works. His most recent series, titled “Coachella Canyons,” display a wider range of colors than his previous works. Here, primary colors dance with secondary earth tones and tertiary saturations. Bridging the range of intensities from luminous brights to shy blushes, one notes in Jasper’s recent works the absolute truth that color’s appearance depends on its context.
Complementary colors glide by contrasting hues, and as such, one witnesses both a celebratory waltz and a despairing dirge. In Jasper’s works, we bear witness to the wisdom of Vassily Kandinsky’s remark that “the impact of an acute triangle on a sphere generates as much emotional impact as the meeting of God and Adam in Michelangelo’s Creation.” This is the power of composition. And this is the power of an artist as accomplished and distinguished as Ben Jasper. Catch his exhibition at the Palm Desert Campus of California State University – San Bernardino at 37500 Cook Street, Palm Desert, CA 92211 through December 31, 2013. For more information on the artist, see http://desertmoonstudio.com/
Art Review by Armin Callo, Contributing Editor
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