Jim Houser has chosen art as a form of self-analysis for his second solo exhibition at the Patricia Armocida Gallery. His introspective journey unfolds through twenty works of art in an exhibition with a symbolic name: A Position on a Map, catalogued experiences and emotions of the American artist born in 1973 and take form through images and typography with a therapeutic flavour. Connected to each other as if part of a mapping system, sentiments or emotions correspond to a place. But what prevails here is the layering of materials and shapes used to transition between more complex and lighter moments, predominantly in shades of blue. It’s a collection of images that begins with a pattern and moves along through thousands of small symbols encouraging the viewer to focus on the details. Not much different than the pictures for Missoni Women’s Fall 2014 collection in which green water becomes the base for unexpected patterns and shades. The association between Missoni and art has always come from unlikely themes that have aesthetic similarities, as with Jim Houser’s exhibition. We have asked him a few questions.
What attracts you most to patterns? The idea that shapes multiply creating new structure or the possibility of infinitely expanding?
I find them calming, whether to look at in nature or to create in my own work. For me, the repetition of painting such patterns is very relaxing. I leave myself, almost as a kind of meditation.
One of the first things one sees in your work is the perfect colour combinations. How important is this phase to you and why are blue and orange often the predominant colours?
Yes, thank you. The bases of my palette, from which all other others are drawn from, are blues and reds. It’s the unifying element in everything I make. The colour of the sea, the colour of blood: two huge themes.
How much do you enjoy what you do?
I do enjoy painting a great deal, much of the time. But there is also a compulsion to do it, so even if I wish to take a break, I begin to feel bad about myself. It is very rare for me to completely take a break and not work for a long period, and it usually coincides with depression. I find I generally need to keep making things.
How do you choose the materials for your collages? Do you start from an idea or are you inspired by feelings?
The collage pieces that are very filled with text and images usually take several weeks to make. They are painted on small pieces of loose paper, a handful a day. The subject matter is generally whatever I’m thinking about that day, filtered through a series of small icons and poems that have meaning to me. The completed piece is assembled later, according to colour and subject.