Testing

Jaq Chartier’s paintings explore scientific methods through experimentation with paint and process. All of her works are “tests” to discover something about materials and what they do. Inspired in part by images of DNA gel electrophoresis, Chartier investigates the migration of various stains through layers of paint and acrylic gels.

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Jaq Chartier: 9 Whites w/Reds & Violets, acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 30 x 40”

I call my primary body of work Testing, because each painting begins as an actual test. Inspired by scientific images like gel electrophoresis, they feature intimate views of materials reacting to each other, to light, and the passage of time. Instead of paint, I use my own complex formulas of deeply saturated inks, stains and dyes. Such colors can do things paint can’t do – change, shift, and migrate through other layers of paint, or separate into component parts with differing properties.

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Jaq Chartier: 4 Tests (Blacks) acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 30 x 40”

Whereas traditional artist paints are formulated to be stable and controllable, stains are capricious and easily affected by lots of factors like humidity, gravity, time, UV light – even the structure of molecules in the other elements they touch. After years of study I’m still intrigued by the hidden chemistries of these materials. I write notations directly on the paintings to help me track what’s happening in each test. These notes are one of the physical forms I use to display parallels between scientific and artistic exploration.

Jaq Chartier, Tests w/11 Whites acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 40 x 30”
Jaq Chartier: Summer Chart #4 acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 36 x 28”
Jaq Chartier: Study w/8 Purple Blue Stains acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 10 x 10”
Jaq Chartier: Spring Infusion (S. Black) acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 18 x 24”
Jaq Chartier: Small Test with 5 Stains acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 8 x 10”
Jaq Chartier: Small Infusion acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 10 x 10”
Jaq Chartier: Large Chart (Full Spectrum) acrylic, inks, stains & spray paint on wood 65 x 100 inches

Like most painters I was educated to use archival materials and “proper” painting techniques. This practice was the original motivation behind a group of work I call SunTests. They started as a way of sorting out fugitive materials from those that are stable and lightfast. But instead of discarding such materials, I’ve found myself attracted to them, drawn by the additional layer of complexity that such changes suggest, and by the very notion of impermanence.

Jaq Chartier: Infusion w/BB1 acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 30 x 40”

Jaq Chartier: Infusion w/BB1 acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 30 x 40”

 

Time is not a dimension people usually think of for paintings. Even after you know about the testing process underpinning my work, it’s tempting to view the paintings as static, frozen moments or phenomena captured in the acrylic film like bugs in amber. But they’re actually slow-motion performances changing imperceptibly over time as the materials continue to interact. I design some colors to shift in hue or gradually disappear, while others remain permanent.

Jaq Chartier:  9 Studies (P. FE Red) acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 30 x 24”

Jaq Chartier: 9 Studies (P. FE Red) acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 30 x 24”

 

Whether the painting is large or small, you’re meant to get up close. The lush matte surface and blurry, out-of-focus quality bring further attention to the effort of looking. Repetition is employed to compare & contrast, and to provide situations where unexpected mutations might occur.

Jaq Chartier, Infusion with Purples & Blues acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 18 x 24”

Jaq Chartier, Infusion with Purples & Blues acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 18 x 24”

Jaq Chartier, Dilution Test acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 8 x 10”

Jaq Chartier, Dilution Test acrylic/stains/paint on wood panel 8 x 10”

 

 

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www.jaqbox.com

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