JAROMÍR NOVOTNÝ: A Barking Dog Interrupts Everything

November 16, 2023 – January 13, 2024

 untitled, 2023, acrylic on polyester fabric, paper, threads, wood, 30 x 36 cm
 untitled, 2023, acrylic on polyester fabric, rubber eraser, paper, wood, 36 x 28 cm
 untitled, 2023, acrylic on polyester fabric, paper, wood, 46 x 36 cm
 untitled, 2023, acrylic on polyester fabric, paper, wood, 46 x 36 cm
 untitled, 2023, acrylic on polyester fabric, colored pencil and pastel on sandpaper, paper, wood, 36 x 25 cm
 untitled, 2023, acrylic on polyester fabric, textile, paper, wood, 58 x 43 cm
 untitled, 2023, acrylic on polyester fabric, textile, paper, wood, 37 x 26 cm
Text k výstavě v ČJ.
hunt kastner is pleased to present a series of new small format works by Jaromír Novotný in the intimate setting of the projekt_room.  Working with reduction, this time abstracting references to reality, Novotný shows objects in their disappearance, in conjunction with his typical transparent textile.
(On the way back from Jaromír Novotný’s studio, the sky was translucent, soaked with cracks between rain clouds, heavy with the arrival of what had already disappeared in another place nearby. The grains of squashed corn kernels cut into the rough pavement, while the shriveled ears bent under the weight of the grey wind.)
Novotný has a dog that barks a lot. His barking can often be heard from a distance when passers-by approach the house. He is often interrupted in his thoughts and work, and then has to start all over again. But the dog also often lies quietly outside the door, perhaps watching the fruit trees through which the sun shines alternately. He is not afraid of what is under the grate on which he lies, of emptiness and wet leaves, as most dogs would be. His fur grows through the metal mesh and the heat from his body spreads out into the cold construction. The reality of the place, a former farmhouse not far from Prague where the life of the capital is increasingly permeating and where the artist has a studio and now a home, is inscribed in a series of his latest small-scale works. He refers to it modestly, using phrases such as “a few private things”, “reality”, “moving away from large-format monochromes”. The thin sheer fabric in rolls merging with the heterogeneous objects that surround him create his habitat. He perceives disruptions from the work process  in the form of a neighbor’s sawbench, a communal radio, or a bird’s encounter with the glass panes of his studio. The importance of each event, however, inevitably dissipates over time. The sequence of sparse installations deliberately displayed in the gallery’s courtyard reflects and reinforces this lived reality – the leaps out of set processes, only to then slowly fade away.
As observers of the artist’s new works, we are condemned to the same – careful guesswork, balancing between looking for traces of objects on the surface and not being able to see beyond them, inventing our own destinations. The intersection and passage in each individual work alters form and appearance, while at the same time trying to slow down and hold back meanings. This predisposes us to look for guiding realities in the milky fog stuck between the frames. In this case, Novotny’s painting, built on intellectual foundations and painting as a tool of analysis, does not abstract the last references to reality. It is rather the other way around. The concrete seeps in here – things like a finger from a second-hand gardening glove, a neighbour’s sandpaper, a shirt collar cut off, a rubber eraser, all dissolve and seek their place behind or in front. Stitched through, paused in the passing, halfway through, not on the surface or beyond. The suspicion of the thing itself, even if it is already almost unrecognizable, forgotten, transformed by the transition or, conversely, stuck or fixed, is an important part of truth itself. It is therefore not a matter of reduction or simplification of form, fabrication, camouflage – the material here is the real material. A point is not a painter’s paint, a drawing line is not the graphite of a pencil. What is obvious at first sight and what is hidden in the sequence of elements – time, colour, space and shape, other and other planes?
The nature of the doubter of his own system constantly forces the author to reassess the mediation of phenomena, things and especially the fragile relationships between them. Implicit movement turns into an artistic record, a sensitive visual neologism used to resolve a narrative situation in which language is no longer sufficient. And it is in moments of silence that a certain restraint, remoteness, often emptiness and sincerity fill the conceptual space of fine transparent “canvases” whose meaning transcends the micro-stories of the surrounding world, of one farmhouse and one backyard. “A Barking Dog Interrupts Everything” confronts the limitations of language and representation, the hazy concreteness of complex events and the impossibility of fully understanding them.
Text by Eva Slabá