Jeff Depner: Weights & Measures
We are pleased to announce Weights and Measures, Jeff Depner’s fourth solo exhibition with Dianna Witte Gallery.
In previous years, Jeff Depner’s abstract paintings strictly adhered to a grid. The geometrical shapes—often referred to as architectural—consistently repeated across the canvas, the shift in colour creating visual variety. The clusters of hard-edged shapes and colour created a mathematical rightness. “The colour harmonies are intuitive and used in conjunction with pattern, rhythm, and variation to invoke a sensory experience,” wrote Depner.
While his paintings still invoke a sensory experience, in his most recent series, adherence to the grid has relaxed slightly. Depner’s palette has also narrowed, compiled of a combination of subtle greys, blues, and browns —adding more impact when a stronger colour is introduced (in other words, an exclamation mark!). The result is a more organic composition that echoes Depner’s maturity as an artist. “I like to vary the way I begin paintings to try and create situations, accidents or problems that I can then try and dig myself out of,” he explained recently.
Depner’s work can be understood alongside written language. “As a whole, these units combine to create a sort of ‘abstract sign,’ operating separately from speech and writing patterns, with the intention of seizing the viewer on an unconscious or automatic level,” wrote Depner. The semiotics of language—the alphabet and road signs come to mind in relation to Depner’s abstractions—have been established by Depner, and now there’s enough fluency to play with the forms. For the viewer, this results in a shared experience with a coded language—the visual language of abstract art.
Imagine this shift as the progression of your own handwriting: in grade school, letters were traced neatly on lined paper. As we get older, our handwriting takes on its own form, loose and unique, and yet the message remains the same. A red octagon still means stop, even if slightly skewed and out of focus. The latter allows for the possibility of play and projection, a viewer can move through the painting creating connections and conclusions that are unique to them, while remaining intrinsically connected to the work. I want to create “something that creates noise within a pattern or rhythm. In addition to colour, I’ve become more and more interested in materiality and creating objects with presence,” Depner explained. Depner has given us the tools to learn how to read his canvases and, in turn, the language of art.
In addition to Weights and Measures at Dianna Witte Gallery, Depner has upcoming shows at Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York City and Galerie Anke Schmidt in Cologne. He was recently featured in Art-Die Kunstmagazine as well as the upcoming book “Interviews With Vancouver and BC Artists.”
- March 6, 2020 - March 29, 2020
- Dianna Witte Gallery