The Corner Gallery

Jay Batlle

The Trouble With Having A Mother For An Interior Designer Part II

May 8 — Jun 25, 2023

Jay Batlle's "Epicurean" paintings, drawings, performances, and sculptures take the habits of the gourmet as a source of inspiration and social commentary. Batlle belongs to a generation of American artists who have responded to the precepts of minimalism and conceptualism. These artists aim to recreate the image and the social process in art, providing a channel for imaginary and everyday experience and forcing academic conventions to confront mass culture.

Batlle, known as the “Epicurean Painter,” is interested in exploring “The Good Life”—success, fortune, and an abundance of sensual pleasures—and the gulf that exists between this ideal and reality. Batlle subverts the gourmet experience into social commentary, mostly on the interchangeability of wealth and power, and the blurring of boundaries between the two as it relates to indulgence and excess. His oeuvre offers both a critique of comestible-related decadence and a celebration of the preparation and consumption of food across various cultures. The artist asks: “What is the meaning of art, getting to the top of the social economic ladder or having enough to eat?”

"Through the process of experimentation I have found a new intuitive approach reconnecting my current pictures with my early aspirations that led me down the long and winding road of art making. In this new sensual body of work titled The Fleur de Sel paintings, the paint and its application come before the concept, a new and liberating way of working for me. My subjective ideal of beauty is expressed with the emotions of color, texture, and scale through a unique application of oil paint that is autonomous of paint brushes. I use a technique, where the paint is applied and then spread by pressing large sheets of paper on top of the wet paint, pulling the paper away creates fractuals in the surface of the drying pigment. Freed from the self-imposed rules that guided the making of The Restaurant Stationery series, I have been uninhibited making this new work. If my earlier restaurant works were about the notion of cooking and the Epicurean as form of social critique through illustration, these recent paintings are actually how I cook.

When I start painting, I don’t have a rigid formula. I know how certain materials behave, so I take one color, and I put it with the other. It looks this way on the canvas, so I do that. I add more, and I adjust. Eventually, the color and the image grab ahold of me and it takes me somewhere, and I stop when I think it’s finished. I don’t even question myself. “Is it good, is it bad?” It’s immaterial to me. It’s just purely a kind of a reaction, just like the way that I do in cooking, in a sense. And by the magic of oil paint I am able to create surfaces and textures that force the audience to experience these paintings in real life. Initially I decided to take a beat from the French Nabis School of painting for color and perspective. Then I focused my intentions on still lives, interiors, and landscapes that evoke emotion rather than replicate real life.  Three years later I started to feel like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and I started to think maybe the process could be pushed conceptually, but I really needed to see these works out of the studio in a space.

The exhibition "The Trouble With Having An Interior Designer For A Mother Part II,” provided this opportunity. Because of the space I decided to present my early Fire Escape sculptures, which in my mind are part of the formal chapter of my works: about the materials, similar in intent and execution to my Fleur de Sel paintings. This exhibition was an opportunity to put together a show of two different bodies of works which appear to have converse trajectories of thinking/forms of art making, and hang them together under one rubric to reveal their similar poetry."

Opening reception: May 27, 4 — 6 pm