Monday, July 27, 2009

Jered Sprecher: Painting and the Temptation of Technology

Shift, 2007, oil on linen,
60" x 40"

Almost every art department at the university level now has a computer graphics lab--the influence is undeniable. The quote by Philip Guston, “we are image makers and image ridden” is also illustrated each time we turn on our own computers.

In the work of Jered Sprecher, the sheer appreciation of paint is evident, but a dialogue with technology also exists. References to digital painting via computer are sown throughout his work of the last few years. Titles sometimes make direct references to features found in Photoshop, while some of the paintings also contain images of cursors, semicolons, and the precise geometries that can be attained with software. Sprecher’s paintings are a balance of hard-edge technique with painterly brushwork and it’s that combination that creates a certain tension. The paintings aren’t totally hard edge, but given the influence of the computer, they sure could have been. It’s as if Sprecher is tempted by the precise edges found in computer imagery, but his hand and his brushes have overcome the temptation of technological perfection.

Hypercube, 2006, oil and spray paint on canvas,
56" x 46"

I had the privilege of interviewing Jered Sprecher and when asked why he chooses to paint, he explained that he’s always wanted to make things and use his hands to “think about ideas” while sorting through the numerous images that he comes across each day. He went on to say that he considers his works “hybrid creatures” that are the product of his practice of “image making by any means possible”. I commented on how some of the paintings seem to convey movement and Jered acknowledged that there’s an “expanding and contracting” quality to them, but they also have a “sense of unease” as if they’re “not quite resolved”. Since studio practice is one aspect of painting that differs among artists, in describing his own way of working, Jered said that he doesn’t use preliminary drawings, but starts with just canvas and paint, which confirmed my thoughts that with Jered Sprecher, paint really is paramount.

Empire, 2008, oil on linen,
18" x 14"

More of Jered Sprecher’s work can also be found at his website: