Arawness permeates through Jeremy Mann’s paintings. There’s an organized madness to it all as his seemingly improvisational paints are laid down around pristine figures, their flawless features juxtaposed with the primal application of color around them. Paint is mashed, rolled, swiped and stabbed onto the canvas before it is flayed open and reapplied yet again. “…Destroying and then rebuilding paintings stage after stage is not only thrilling after the fact, but also has the look, the feeling of history, melancholy and memory that I am wanting in my art,” Mann told us recently.
In The Unbound Process, his newest solo show, many of those paint qualities can be seen in Mann’s photography, which will take center stage in a unique new exhibition opening November 16 at Principle Gallery in Alexandria, Virginia. Like his painted works, Mann’s photography has a raw quality to it, with works that show a high level of design, costuming, composition and setting, but with an unfinished, almost found-footage quality to it. The images have a distressed look to them, with areas that include dust, scratches, light leaks and other darkroom trauma. And yet, like the paintings, the figures’ beauty shines through, as if drawing power from the spontaneity of the madness around them.
When asked if the works were extensions of the paintings, or if he viewed photography as a separate medium altogether, Mann, who has also been experimenting with feature films, bundled all of it together. “I would say [the photography] is just another extension of me as an art form in the same way as my paintings and motion pictures, poetry and writing are as well. Each artist is just that, a single and unique perspective, contained within one mind and soul,” he says. “It’s the choice to output that perspective, which makes a person an artist. Not being limited by a medium is the most free form of that expression, and while there are many ways to express yourself, finding a multitude of fundamentally similar ways helps perfect the language of art in which I’m trying to best express myself to the world.”
Mann has chosen to shoot his subjects with an unconventional assortment of
cameras. “The cameras I use are homemade amalgamations of antique camera parts, cigar boxes and Polaroid backs, along with some personal modifications to achieve the images I prefer while maintaining full control over exposure settings,” he says. “Two kinds of Polaroids are used, the older Fuji pull-apart Polaroids, which are now going extinct, and the newer instant Polaroids, the latter of which I’ve developed a highly specialized process in the darkroom of removing a negative from them, which allows me even greater results in the darkroom for enlarging, dodging, burning, custom layers and filters and more.”
Clint Mansell, director at Principle in Alexandria, says he’s excited to show a different type of Mann’s work in the gallery. “Over the years we’ve exhibited solely oil paintings by Jeremy Mann, but with his ventures into film and photography, it’s clear his passions aren’t just for paintings, his passion is for art,” Mansell says. “His photographs incorporate everything successful about his paintings. Using handmade cameras and nontraditional printing techniques, Mann creates gorgeous, memorable photographs that contain his signature style imbued in every aspect of their creation.”
In addition to photographs, Mann will be showing new painted works. The show opens November 16 with a reception from 6:30 to 9 p.m., with an artist talk planned for November 17 at 6 p.m.
5Silver gelatin print, 5½ x 5½"5
3Silver gelatin print3
4Silver gelatin print, 5½ x 5½"4