Tess Jaray takes Russian inspiration in Mapping the Unseeable at London's Piper Gallery

By Ben Miller | 15 October 2012
A photo of a female artist in a purple t-shirt laughing in a gallery full of minimalist works
Tess Jaray makes patterned representations of three-dimensional spaces© Courtesy Mark Pattenden
Exhibition: Tess Jaray – Mapping the Unseeable, The Piper Gallery, London, until November 9 2012

For Tess Jaray – a painter drawn to geometry, colour, repetition and the patterns of the world and her own mind – the objects, textiles and architecture of Gothic, Baroque and Islamic churches provided initial inspiration.

An image of a square pink minimalist painting with a white cube in the middle
River Pink and Blue (2009)© Courtesy Tess Jaray RA / The Piper Gallery
In recent years, she’s concentrated more on underlying, unseen movements, combining wild colours in works particularly informed by Kazmir Malevich, a pioneer of abstract geometric art during the late 19th and early 20th century.

“I saw this painting in the Russian Museum in St Petersburg,” she says, of Red Square. “I was riveted. It dominated a room full of quite different paintings – Repin, turn of the century Russians, some landscapes of endless trees and mud.

“But Red Square seemed to fill the entire space, even though it was quite small.”

Malevich’s determination to keep things simple also sparked Jaray’s endeavours in minimalism, using computers more prevalently in pursuit of finer precision, with backgrounds and foregrounds becoming separate from one another – the latter screen-printed with a single colour, then layer-cut and added to the background panel.

They hint at landscapes and have three-dimensional elements to them. Ultimately, though, Jaray adds a level of detail which is intended to be seen first-hand.

More pictures:

A photo of a minimalist block of purple paint with a yellow and pink square inside it
After Malevich 19 (2012)© Courtesy Tess Jaray RA / The Piper Gallery
A photo of a minimalist block of light blue paint with a blue and white square inside it
River Blue and Pink (2009)© Courtesy Tess Jaray RA / The Piper Gallery
A photo of a yellow square painting with tiny blue spots in formation within it
Many Moments, Yellow (2005)© Courtesy Tess Jaray RA / The Piper Gallery
A photo of a large painting of a square green block with a white cube inside it
After Malevich 20 (2012)© Courtesy Tess Jaray RA / The Piper Gallery
A photo of the see-through door of a gallery full of minimalist paintings
Jaray co-ordinated the Royal Academy of Art's summer exhibition© Courtesy Tess Jaray RA / The Piper Gallery
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