“I began this project in early April, and it is now a time capsule of sorts. When Covid began, I felt like I fell into a hole and now feel a little ambivalent about climbing out at all. Perhaps there was something to learn in that hole…did I learn it?”
Chapter 1: Distraction – April 2020
We are living in a moment of rupture, a moment that distracts us from our regular activities and hollows them out – and in turn we attempt to distract our attention away from this distraction. In the Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin quotes a French historian: “The past has left images of itself in literary texts, images comparable to those which are imprinted by light on a photosensitive plate. The future alone possesses developers active enough to scan such surfaces perfectly.” I wonder if our bodies are also sensitive to such imprints even if only time will allow us to read them?
Chapter 2: The Green’s Out – June/July 2020
I watch Gov. Cuomo make a show of signing a new bill into law; he pens his signature and then continues the line to draw one, two, three, four large circles around his name. To make a mark is to make a commitment. To make even this simple representation is to represent precisely for or against something, it is to make a choice. So I am even more aware of the weight of ‘picturing’. This short video charts a return to the studio and my re-engagement with painting.
Jen Mazza (born 1972, Washington D.C.) is a New York based artist who makes paintings and teaches at Parsons School of Design and the Pratt Institute. Her collaborative teaching integrates reading, artmaking and research across a range of disciplines, often focused on close visual analysis and problem-solving. She and her co-teacher, artist Dylan Gauthier have recently contributed a chapter to the book “Teaching Artistic Research” (De Gruyter, ed. Ruth Mateus-Berr and Richard Jochum PhD MFA). And in another collaboration of word and image, selected paintings appear alongside poems by Sampson Starkweather in his newest chapbook “A Week in Late Capitalism / Ancient Capitalistic Proverbs” just released by Blush. Most recently Mazza’s work was on view in her—covid shuttered—solo exhibition “Attending to Particulars” at Tibor de Nagy Gallery.