Born and raised in Chicago, Joren moved to Washington D.C. to pursue his MFA at American University. He finished in 2004 and now works out of a studio in Takoma Park, Washington D.C. at the A.Salon collective. It’s a large building in downtown Takoma Park that houses other artistic organizations in addition to all the artist studios.
Joren’s studio is cozy and organized. One wall was covered with his little collage pieces on wood — which are my favorites. Below them he has tacked color aid pieces of paper that are studies for future and current work. I was surrounded by old and new work, paint, books and objects of inspiration. I plopped myself down on his studio couch, coffee in hand, and was joined by a dog from a studio mate next door.
Joren is interested in how form shapes meaning in his figurative paintings. Driven by shape, color, space and line, his work and process are based on little photo collages he constructs out of cut photocopies of appropriated photographs that he then adheses on to wood panels. From these collages he makes drawings that are then used to create his larger paintings on canvas.
“I’m interested in the artistic use of color for liberating, emotive purposes. I’m also interested in visual contrasts of weight and alignment. My endeavor is to connect my way of respectfully composing the whole of the two-dimensional or three-dimensional field, and use of the aforementioned elements, to interpretive muses on the subjects I have chosen.”
Although his paintings may come from a search for balance in visual contrast, they start to hint at places that are fragmented, displaced and sometimes nostalgic. He’s interested in the history of the photograph and the memory it holds not only for himself but what it can conjure up for the viewer.
“That search for a familiar image hopefully yields in each work a platform for instantaneous connection to the viewer’s world of imagination and past-based imagery, underneath which there is a self-contained aesthetic world. The layered nature of my work leads to a spatial complexity and occasional paradox or irony. I want the role of the work flirting outwardly, coming from awareness that highlights gaps between reality and what we understand.”
While I was visiting with Joren, other artists came and went. A few hung around while I was there. There was a nice energy that Saturday morning and the space seems really conducive towards making and talking about art. Joren makes it easy to do that. His genuine enthusiasm for delving into the depths of his personal painting investigation is truly inspiring.
This spring, Joren’s work is going to be included in an upcoming collage exhibit at the Studio Gallery in Washington D.C. curated by Thomas Drymon. He also will be leaving his studio at A.Salon to move to a location on 14th and R that is a little closer to his home. Three other artists including Drymon, will join him at this location and they all will be a part of the Mid City Artists group.
To see more of his work check out his blog http://www.eyemxmatter.blogspot.com
He also exhibits regularly with an artist collective in New York: