"La Machine Molle" : Jason Jägel's Expansive and Storytelling Return to Gallery 16, San Francisco
Jason Jägel has always thought intensely about how his work relates to both music and literature. His nodes to text, instruments and even so much as introducing his versions of musical icons into his work is always apparent, from MF DOOM to Madlib. Many of his best paintings deal with time, whether that means keeping the beat or how to quanify our past adimiration for art of years gone by, it feels like a constant conveersation of nostalgia versus the now. Jason Jägel is back now with his second solo exhibition with the Gallery 16, La Machine Molle, a new series of paintings, works on paper and sculptures.
From the gallery:
La Machine Molle is French for The Soft Machine, the title of a 1961 cut-up novel by American author William S. Burroughs, as well as the name of seminal Canterbury scene band, Soft Machine. After being kicked out of his own band (Soft Machine), Robert Wyatt started a new band which he named Matching Mole, a linguistic pun on the French name for Soft Machine. The images in a new series of paintings refer to the 1972 live performance of Wyatt’s group on the French television program Rockenstock. Jägel's broad admiration for Wyatt includes his use of everyday speech, wry humor, and self-referential elements in his lyrics. There is a kinship in the way both Jägel and Wyatt bring together elements of improvisation and lyrical narrative.
In his own unique and poetic way, Jason Jägel's work cultivates a strong improvisational component, born out of a form of autobiographical fiction, his love of music, comics, and literary fiction. In the words of Kevin Killian, he is an “ace raconteur” and, above all, Jägel's work tells a story. His compositions often appear as fragments where experiences, dreams, people, places, individual narratives and past experiences intersect and intertwine to create open-ended, conversational stories full of rhythm and flow. No evident beginning, middle or end, the spectator zooms in and out of situations, decoding and perceiving along the way, searching for a route to try and interpret the often ambiguous signs and signals in order to create coherence.
The stylistic form of Jägel's spontaneous and improvisational painting is immediately recognizable. His paintings blend elements of abstract painting, comic flatness and linguistic expression into works that are dense, vibrant, and colorful. He has an impressive sense of rhythm, as well as a gift for surprising color synthesis. “I don’t want to see the colors in such a way that they foremost advertise their hue," Jagel says. "I want to mix colors that foremost elicit an emotional response."