Jay Alexander's paintings present a contemporary reinterpretation of some of the books (themes) found in the "Mustard Seed Garden Manual" of Chinese painting: The books of the plum, orchid, flowering plants, and feathers, Infusing his experience and technique into an ancient venerable genre. The paintings assembled here are essentiallylandscapes with a zoom lens depicting the above subjects in the moods, seasons and light of Western Massachusetts.
These subjects are expressed through his deep attachment to the natural world filtered through a vast body of theory with metaphysical underpinnings-- that art is a spontaneous expression, immediate and irrevocable as life itself, where the essential truth of a painted object is the operation of the spirit(chi) in life movement (Zheng tung).
This approach to painting is engendered and fostered by the artist's media- a very porous rice paper combined with the drips, washes, ink blots and calligraphic strokes of ink and watercolor. The washes of transparent color capture light and atmosphere, the bleeding of the rice paper add expression and accidental effect: lotus pods leak out ink, blossoms dissolve into branches and mist, birds gaze into the diffuse sunlight in a watery, vague surrounding.
Form and dissolution--nothing is fixed and stable in this world of water, ink and paper--layers dissolve into one another and the atmosphere vibrates and envelopes the subjects in a vibrant, fluid, luminous world. Jay Alexander has expanded and reinterpreted this narrow genre of bird and flower painting into a personalized vision of his environment using the simple media of brush, ink and watercolor.
Jay Alexander, 2017