Studio Visit With Jonathan Worcester

Jonathan Worcester ’15, Heimbold’s resident experimental painter, intermixes a variety of film practices with assorted painting techniques in a desire to create experiential art.

Strongly interested in media, his courses are an apparent reflection of his baroque interests into both the methodology behind creating and the act of creating. He’s experimented not only with techniques in painting, but also photoshop, film, photography, stop-motion… often in unison. For example, in Robin Starbuck’s “Media Sketchbooks” course (a “production course…for adventurers, artists, and budding filmmakers interested in exploring the medium of film for artistic expression and social inquiry”), he explained to me how he uses film to abstractly explore the sensory, in which he tries to create something inexplicable for the viewer’s eyes. His approach to film is imaginative and novel; perhaps because he enjoys teaching himself about the camera, about different programs he can use, and spends time learning about the potentials of them throughout the process of shooting and editing.  In his most recent project (in which the assignment is “to choose a song you hate and make a music video out of it”), his visual aim is generally in regards to the idea of surface tension, light forces and reactions. Whether it be organically created in an urban setting, on a canvas, or an out of focus camera lens, he overlays these different energies, creating a dialogue about the notion of surface tension. For example, he took a crew made up of his friends to local abandoned buildings, one being a creepy plant research/greenhouse manor and another a power plant (which we’ll leave at that).

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He’s also taking Una Chung’s “New Media Literacies” lecture course, which deeply pronounces the “contemporary discourses of everyday life, culture, and design in metropolitan hubs globally”, and an independent study with painting professor Ursula Schneider entitled “Organic Mimetic Abstraction.” In his independent study, he has his own space to experiment with art, a variety of quirky chemicals, mediums and ideas. The possibilities are infinite, he says. He’s into textural forms and authentically organic processes, as they react on their own and from his intention. Furthermore with Ursula, he studies a range of topics such as curation, alternative methods of painting, and abstract film, exploring old archives and documents.

Also a member of C.A.T.S, Jonathan has experience curating shows, and has a group show coming up on February 28 in the A*Space (co-curated with Dashael Nadler, and entitled “The Death Show”). He expressed to me his questions on curatorial rights, and much of his thoughts revolve around the ambiguous roles of the curator alongside/versus that of the artists. This has ultimately enhanced the creative process of his work, desiring to create an experience based upon a sensory platform, whatever the medium may be.

Currently a junior, he’s planning on spending his summer working at an art supply store in Brooklyn. Part store and part factory, they make their own pigments, experiment and play with abstract materials. He’s excited, to say the least, to “play shop.” Post-grad, his plans are to receive his MFA, practice his craft and teach.

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Favorite color: constantly changing but thinks of them emotionally and contextually; black and white is interesting to him because of their color potentialities, in which light and reflections make them “fight for control.”

Favorite word(s): verboten (German, “forbidden”) and keck (German, “it means sassy, saucy, in your face”; a word reminiscent to his days exploring guerrilla street art, and the act of doing/writing it)

Artists of influence: Anselm Kiefer, Yves Klein

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Photography by Isabel Farrington 

Kaitlyn is a senior, studying languages, philosophy and art/architectural theory. Currently making artist books.

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