works in town! josephine jelicich

interview with jesse bowling

tell us about the pragmatics of setting up the first MEANWHILE window show

it was really simple and low key. very ideal. i got an email from Sonya asking if i had any already existing work that i would like to install in the MEANWHILE window in about a week. having only one week notice made me feel relaxed about the content, i liked that it was short notice.

what were your feelings about MEANWHILE upon being asked, when no one really knew who we were or what we were doing?

very good, i love window spaces because they block people getting too close and seeing all the mistakes, and add a shiny gloss to everything, making everything look more still. i wasn't phased at all about the upcoming shows. i had guessed the general direction of MEANWHILE, it was positive. being the first show suited me because i didn't have anyone to compare myself too. it felt like an exciting thing, to fill a new and empty space.

can you talk about your choice of materials, and what gets you excited when you choose a material to work with?

plastic (might use less soon), metal (sheets, baking trays, or old framing), wire, glass, tiles, wood, canvas, fabric, paper, concrete, plaster, sand, rocks/pebbles, duraseal, paint, crayon pastel, powdered pigment, limestone, windows. everything bought, found, or handmade things, or a mixture. the most exciting thing is finding a material. it makes me feel a lot better as it cuts out a lot of planning and money and more searching. if i have something that could work i just try to make it work rather than buying the perfect new thing, which can often be more work - cleaning, and planning around a wonky thing. for the teal coloured curve i put in MEANWHILE, i had been working on glass a bit, making simple works, applying colour and making frames for the edge. this piece of glass was from my bedroom window which was a little bit broken for a year and a half. when they finally came to fix it i asked if i could have the glass. i was getting into rounder shapes at this point so i used it as is, except cut a little off the edge to make it shorter.

i feel your work communicates a negation towards general geometric abstraction, and it seems to disrupt that? Do you have any comment on that?

i align more with 'DIY minimal'. there are lots of words/genres that i could kind of fit into, sometimes they are helpful to know when you want to look up an artist or see what rules come with a certain movement. at the moment i don't like patterns except a few grids and lines. i don’t mind some shapes - rectangle, a blob. (sounds really boring). i feel like i am minimal but without the manifesto.

your work has a sense of play and ease about it, would you say that’s to do with the making process?

yes, the making and finding and planning. some things i make are super quick, and are a spontaneous use of material or in the moment idea. for the red hanging cut shape i put in MEANWHILE i had just bought this red plastic, and i was on a roll making shelves from aluminium baking trays, as well as slowly working on my lightbox so i was sort of thinking what else could i make because i was feeling really positive. with help from Tim, i made it very quick, using the bandsaw. the rough rectangle is my go-to shape (it is kind of a joke, a bad-skill shape). then i drilled a hole to hang it. it’s better if i make it quickly because more nice mistakes happen.

other things i plan semi-well, but always have an openness. maybe i will leave it as it is, or paint it, or add things later. i think this is also a way to cope when things go wrong, accepting the mistakes as normal or natural part of the making, but freaking a bit about it first. maybe leaving things open is actually worse because i can’t make a decision so i jump between them for ages. some people don't even notice the mistakes, only the perfectionist uptight people do.