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Jason Stopa (b. 1983) is a painter and writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Stopa received his BFA from Indiana University and his MFA from Pratt Institute. His work has been reviewed in Artforum, Artsy, Hyperallergic, and The Brooklyn Rail. Recent solo exhibitions include “Joy Labyrinth” at Morgan Lehman (NYC) and "Hanging Gardens" at Atelier W (Pantin, FR) in 2019. A solo exhibition at Diane Rosenstein (Los Angeles, CA) is slated for late 2023. Recent group exhibitions include "Light," at Miles McEnery (NYC) and "Wayne Thiebaud Influencer: A New Generation" at The Manetti Shrem Museum (Davis, CA). Stopa teaches at Pratt Institute, The School of Visual Arts, SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology, and works for an academic journal at Columbia University.


Artist Statenent:

I make abstract paintings that reference utopian architecture. My oil paintings are made of thin washes using archetypal, geometric forms that resemble a kind of flattened sculpture. Many of my works use ornamentation, lattice and framing devices set against arabesque form. I'm concerned with the tension between geometry and sensual form. My color belongs to a historical lineage. You can trace a color through-line from Henri Matisse to Bob Thompson to Stanley Whitney. Color used here is saturated, spatial and idealistic.

Utopia, which was part of Modernist notions of progress, is a physical impossibility. Painting utopian architecture allows me to negotiate my relationship to progress in the 21st century. I am after an abstraction that is two-fold: one that is critical of our notions of progress and also opens up a horizon of possibilities. This ambiguity is what Edouard Glissant would call “creolization,” and in this way, my work also reflects my identity as a mixed man. Abstraction can also channel the ancient. I paint my monolithic forms with a severe aestheticism. I am concerned with touch and surface. I want my surfaces to emulate the washy, ceramic glaze of Ancient Greek pottery, which was in turn referencing Egyptian art.

In past exhibitions, I have painted wall installations of gates and stages.  In these exhibits, the painted walls act as a stage for paintings to be hung on, whereas the paintings themselves are also a shallow stage. I’m interested in how mark-making can create physical and atmospheric sensations that vie with sculpture and perform a painting.  In this way, my work seeks to question a painting’s status in relation to the wall and the social realities of a given architectural site.

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