Reception Saturday, July 16, 6–9pm.
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Curated by Caroline Frost
After taking a hiatus in his practice to travel internationally, cross-disciplinary artist Jamie Panzer makes his return in his solo exhibition, Lyrical Space, at Spellerberg Projects. Born in New York City and raised in Maryland, Panzer has exhibited in major cities across the country while living in Austin for the last 20 years. After leaving Austin to travel abroad, Panzer is now based in Maryland. Lyrical Space displays mixed media work that Panzer began creating while living in Mexico during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lyrical Space reflects Panzer’s ongoing interest in recycling and rearranging found materials collected from his surroundings. The featured works combine paint and collage, appropriating commercial packaging, old textbooks, and other media to create new forms and compositional relationships that blur familiar imagery and abstract illusions. The resulting reconstructions are playful and suggestive, encouraging viewers to engage with them imaginatively while pulling from mental semiotic encyclopedias.
The featured works’ ambiguity also reflects the social and political contexts of their origin. Whereas Panzer’s previous bodies of work have manifested preconceived visual aesthetics or ideas, his newest works arise out of improvisation and reaction to global events taking place in 2020, the years that have followed, and today. Panzer’s appropriation of found media provokes a sense of uncertainty, demonstrating how the artist navigates today’s social currents by incorporating cultural discards.
In the midst of a pandemic, I was forced to remain in a single location in Mexico. I set up a makeshift studio and, using materials I could cobble together, began an approach that was relatively new to me; incorporating painting and collage. Themes of isolation, confusion, apprehension, frustration, and mutation came to the fore. The results straddle the fence somewhere between narrative and abstraction of the great unknown.
The process I’m using in this current work allows for constant revelation, improvisation, and reaction. Like an archaeologist in a poet’s pants, I excavate books and magazines digging up artifacts to categorize and then reconstruct. I suspect I’m fulfilling the role of some sort of trans-dimensional cultural anthropologist whose research manifests in aesthetic imagery of whimsical witticisms.
Until I embarked on my journey, I explored various mediums and messages. The fundamental difference between the earlier and current works is that the previous results were arrived at by manifesting a preconception. A contrivance envisioned and then manufactured. I’m always aware of, and therefore willing to provoke, a sense of uncertainty while embracing an elastic mindset. We’re all negotiating through an enduring and incomprehensible plane of existence. I do so by showing and telling.
About the Artist
Jamie Panzer was born in New York, New York, reared in Silver Spring, Maryland, and currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. He attended Old Dominion University on a Soccer Scholarship and transferred to Carnegie-Mellon University where he earned a BFA in Art and Graphic Design, and then moved to Austin. He attended the Maryland Institute, College of Art as a Graduate candidate for a year but returned to Austin to complete his degree from The University of Texas at Austin as the first in the newly inaugurated Trans-media Program in 1993. He then relocated to Baltimore to assume a position as Assistant Director of Exhibitions at MICA and soon after became Art Director at an interactive advertising agency in New York. He has exhibited in Pittsburgh, New York, Austin, Houston, Dallas, Baltimore, Washington, DC, San Antonio, and Los Angeles. Panzer has shown extensively in Austin since his return to Texas. He paused his practice in 2017 to travel with the intention of finding a new environment in which to settle.