by Elizabeth Delaney for McColl Center for Art + Innovation
Jason H. Green fuses layers of memory and medium to create multifaceted, two-dimensional surfaces bursting with contained energy that seems to shift and swirl, reflect and refract, amid fields of color and pattern.
The fall 2019 McColl Center artist-in-residence cultivates what he dubs a “relationship between memory and surfaces” in his sculptural ceramic pieces, which intertwine traditional materials and practices with cutting-edge technology and contemporary design.
Green’s current ceramic work is rooted in terra cotta, the historic mass building material noted for its structural integrity and availability.
He transforms the rich, red-brown clay into tiles that serve as supports for layers of textures, glazes, and abstract formations comprising aspects of architecture, sculpture, and painting.
Structured yet fluid, each group of tiles achieves a material and aesthetic cohesion via prescribed pathways traversing the surface to produce the illusion of depth. “Illusion both reinforces and undermines their sense of objectness,” says the artist of his tiles.
Green’s artwork is at once universal and personal.
Though the nonreferential shapes, lines, and patterns transcend time and culture, they also have the potential to evoke memories of individual experiences. “I hope it reminds [viewers] of a specific space or memory of their relationship to architecture or space,” he remarks about the possible dialogue between art and audience.
Formally, the pieces embody the history of the materials and what they represent. Green works with terra cotta because of its strength and sustainability, but also because of its historical position as a material of lower socioeconomic echelons. In this vein, he forges high-art pieces out of traditionally low-art materials to explore ceramics as a cultural barometer.
The computers, metal plates, paper, and terra cotta tiles populating Green’s studio reflect the artist’s multidisciplinary approach to his art making, which includes everything from CAD drawings to laser-cut patterns to hand-mixed clay and glazes. Working across a range of mediums allows the artist to savor the raw materials along with the digital—to manipulate and transform through virtual and tangible means.
Green spent his time at McColl Center honing new ideas and techniques, including writing a computer program that allows him to create his own patterns and making his own plates and embossed paper.
“Ceramics can be a humbling pursuit, especially when trying out new materials and processes,” says Green. “McColl Center has given me time and space to test techniques that bring new ideas to my work.”
Reflecting on his overall experience, Green says, “Being among a group of such accomplished artists coming from diverse cultures and backgrounds is a great opportunity. Along with making, the sharing of lively conversations, histories, and viewpoints is what McColl Center is all about.”
As part of his residency, Green taught Introduction to 3D Modeling and Digital Fabrication at UNC Charlotte’s College of Arts + Architecture, collaborating with Professor Thomas Schmidt.
“I think both of our programs and curricula benefitted from our experience working together and I hope this model of collaboration in teaching becomes more prevalent in academia,” remarks Green, who regularly teaches at Alfred University in New York State.
“It was great to engage with a group of students whose finished work showed their diversity, individuality, and thoughtfulness, along with their ability to apply and adapt the skills they have developed in their varied areas of artistic pursuit.”
At the culmination of the class, Green and his students exhibited their work in the university’s Rowe Side Gallery.