Annette Jaret

5th Floor Rotunda Gallery, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital Arts Program • Lebanon, NH • • Through June 30, 2017

By: David Raymond

annettejaret totem 16 2016 mixed media 24 x 26
Annette Jaret, Totem #16, 2016, mixed media, 24 x 26″. Courtesy of the artist.

Annette Jaret creates mixed media works that share features associated with field painting. Her Tapestry and Totem series include compositions of elements that exist interdependently without being subordinate to primary figures. Surfaces are built up with fragmented photographs, Oriental fiber papers and paint, all of which essentially claim the foreground. This strategy of presenting parts of the whole with equal weight has roots in the drip paintings of Jackson Pollock and in the non-figurative paintings by Willem de Kooning among others. Jaret expands on that history with her incorporation of manipulated digital photography that hints only slightly at figuration—her tree imagery is nestled within complex surfaces.

The Totem series manifests Jaret’s interest in trees and nature in general, but her strongest work is in the more abstract Tapestry series that is connected to non-pictorial painting and demonstrates a rigorous application of her methods and materials. She digitally and manually slices up a variety of photo-sourced images and painted surfaces that she incorporates in a collage layering approach that is rich with fracturing gesture, ingenuity and graphic forcefulness. Shard-like papers compete for attention and carry the viewer into lively environments of action and nervous but balanced tension. Trees are abstracted in Totem #16 and Totem #21, and pictorial depth is largely eliminated in favor of a flattened space from which forms charge expressively outward. In the Totem series tree shapes and colored fragments are set against strong, contrasting colors that intensify the black and white tree bark. Although these pieces would be enhanced as visual encounters by being larger, the diminishment of natural pictorial specifics releases a commanding muscularity, as in the regal Tapestry 31. Stripped of representational function, Tapestry 31 asserts material and expressive power, while Tapestry 36, an even more abstract work, presents an oddly comic and buzzing explosiveness.

Separate from the Tapestry and Totem series are works with recognizable landscape features. Top Cover, Glacial and Nippy Nite, are populated by bare, wintered trees, conveying foggy, ghost-like images of delicate beauty—color tones of moody atmospherics that are pleasant, but risk a loss of authority or lasting potency.

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