There's something about optimism in small spaces; it makes everything feel a little bigger.
The Optimistic Life & Mind is a series of new paintings by Mark Warren Jacques, now showing at Rare Device's petite gallery in San Francisco. According to Jaques, his most recent paintings are about energy: "Some days I try to imagine I know where I am right now. On those days if I am painting, or thing making, like all the other folks who create and guess to explain, I am happy. On the other hand I love the energy that is not knowing too. I thrive on that energy to keep living happily."
The paintings on either side of the little gallery reveal that difference in energy. Some of the paintings feel light, with warm colors and wispy, organic movement. Others feel grounded by triangles, geometric patterns, and a heavy use of black. There's almost a feeling of celestial-meets-Navajo in the patterns and motifs. The paintings are full of planet-like circles set against black backgrounds, radiating triangles, and zig-zagging patterns reminiscent of the Freemasons. One of those motifs is repeated in a charming band, painted onto the walls of the gallery and winds cheerfully around the artwork.
Part of my experience with this exhibit was willing myself to read these paintings as optimistic. As I took them in, I realized there is something hopeful and appropriate about returning to the basics.
Jaques includes plenty of motion and fine detail in his paintings, and his candor is refreshing. "I have no idea what any of us are doing here, how we got here, or where we are all going later," he says, coming clean about not having all the answers. But his optimism is contagious. His titles and imagery transmit hope, and that hope hums off the walls.
The Optimistic Life & Mind by Mark Warren Jacques is at Rare Device 1845 Market Street in San Francisco through April 29, 2009. For more information visit raredevice.net.