Resplendent Decay: The Enigmatic Tile Sculpture of Jason H. Green

Jhgreen_wall  Ornament Now 2006, Installation of exhibit at Fosdick-Nelson Gallery.

Distant memory, sensuous undulations, fragments of time… The visual poetry of Jason H. Green’s tile speaks in a language of patience and introspection. There are echoes of paradox in his art. Decorative surfaces suggest the vernacular of architectural ornament. They combine with the methodical application of glazes resulting in rivulets of spontaneity, fragments arranged together never to become whole. 

jhgreen_trace2 Variant 8 (2010): 18.5” x 27.75” x 2.5”. Watershed Terra cotta, slip, glaze.

jhgreen_trace_detailDETAIL: Variant 8 (2010)

Green’s father built houses, so he was often exposed to the "layering of skin on skeleton" as he witnessed the building in process. In his own renovation work, Green remembers how a fragment of wallpaper held memories of past occupants. His tile sculptures evoke the depths of time. Molded low relief curves and revealed matt terra cotta are submerged in watery glazes. Receding black spaces form an arabesque of windows gazing into a furtive interior. Edges are chipped and raw, their unfinished and imperfect borders signifying ruin, vestiges of a larger structure, rescued but incomplete.

jhgreen_studio2 Hand pressed tile removed from the plaster mold.

The discovery of wooden molds at a functioning brick factory were the basis for making his own molds with plaster and wood components. He hand presses clay into molds that include both convex and concave shapes. His unique modular mold making system results in "reconfigurable elements that share the intrinsic geometry found in nature." Historical textures are obtained by transferring a thin layer of slip onto the surface using embossed vintage wallpaper. He allows the brushed glazes to drip and puddle at the bottom edges emulating the pull of gravity and the fluid progression of existence. "Recently," Green remarks, "I have been working with very glossy and runny transparent glazes that add depth to the surface by revealing a build up of underlying layers." His aim is to "create surfaces that reveal their own history."

jhgreen_variant8Variant 8 (2010): 18.5” x 27.75” x 2.5”. Watershed Terra cotta, slip, glaze.

jhgreen_variant8_detail DETAIL: Variant 8 (2010)

The wave is a distinct motif suggesting currents, both electrical and aquatic. His predominate palette of verdant greens, light iron yellows and lush cobalt blues anchored by the earthen red-orange terra cotta speak of an atmosphere of sea and sky. He layers analogous hues and reveals "subtle references to the ever shifting color and color spaces in our environment." The chipped, cracked and uneven wash of color first repels us with uncomfortable thoughts of imperfection and decay and then transfixes us with shimmering reflective beauty. Green, who received his MFA from Alfred University in 1998, is now concerned with "characteristics of immediacy while alluding to the past." He has recently created "fields that suggest the vastness of landscape and the results of weather and erosion." His work invites us to question what we cannot see and remember what we should not forget. 

 

Design Resource: Jason H. Green Ceramic Art

JoAnn Locktov is a publicist, Venetophile and writer. Her public relations firm Bella Figura Communications represents creative individuals and businesses. She is editing a new book on Venice with photographs by Charles Christopher.Connect with JoAnn on Twitter: @JoLocktov and on Facebook . For more on Venice: Dream of Venice Facebook and @DreamofVenice Enjoyed this article? You can read more of JoAnn's "Tileista" columns on The Decorating Diva.com.