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Nemo Jantzen at Blank Space Gallery

Art Scene

Nemo Jantzen at Blank Space Gallery

Nemo Jantzen’s exploration of perception and perspective mixes photorealism and pop art techniques to create mixed media photographs that question and deconstruct pop culture and mass media. In an effort to explore and interrogate the powerful presence of visual culture in the modern world – television, billboards, social media, magazines, and more – Jantzen has developed an aesthetic that feels both analog and interactive.

After collecting thousands of images and organizing them by subject and color, the artist embeds them in small glass and resin spheres that range from 1.2 inches to 1.5 inches. Jantzen then joins dozens of the spheres together to create large scale mixed media photographic portraits. The work requires and inspires viewers to constantly investigate their perspective through the interplay of walking up close and standing at a distance.

Each of Jantzen’s pieces features a theme, such as film noir, Audrey Hepburn, Natalie Portman, rock music, femme fatale, or romance. From afar, a single portrait comes into view that illustrates the theme, or in Jantzen’s words, “the big picture.” However, up close tiny globular photographs reflect numerous images that are relatable to the main subject. The sheer volume of miniscule images encountered in Jantzen’s work is both fascinating and peculiar. Viewers may recognize long forgotten album covers of AC/DC, Kurt Cobain or Jimi Hendrix, for example, only to realize how deeply embedded the images are, like visual stamps in their subconscious.

Part of Jantzen’s intent seems to be bringing an awareness to viewers of how individual perception is influenced by mass media messaging, while also suggesting that the individual has the power to explore multiple perspectives, creating a critical distance that can mediate what is absorbed by the psyche.

However, the images can also bring nostalgic pleasure to lovers of individual icons or cultural trends. Pieces dedicated to Jazz, Brigitte Bardot, and Marilyn Monroe have been acquired or commissioned by art enthusiasts in the past. The works’ content is usually sourced from film stills, billboards or film posters, offering a retro feel to the smaller images, while simultaneously creating a very modern portrait at a larger scale.

Jantzen’s aesthetic also speaks to pointillism, an art genre of the past, and the pixelation of our present day digital world. His mixed media photographs offer another take on a conversation over centuries amongst artists and designers – the fluidity of perspective and the relationship between the general and the particular.

Nemo Jantzen at Blank Space Gallery is on view through August 20, 2017.