All rights reserved: @Mariejon de Jong-Buijs, 2023
Almost a decade ago I sat on a tractor equipped with a small tank and painted, or more precisely, I drove the tractor forward and back, repeatedly, over a 50 meter length of canvas, marking the surface with paint which flowed from a series of holes in a pipe attached to the tank, the paint running like fertilizer or herbicide or water. I knew this kind of work—the careful control of the tractor, the constant looking forward and back, the patience and attentiveness that an otherwise apparently simple operation requires. Since my teens I worked on farms doing a variety of work. Tractor driving was a task I knew, a mode of being in the outdoors, a deep memory known in my body and on the skin.
My memories determined the process that made that particular work, and this helped establish the way I like to work as a painter. The tractor’s movement back and forth across the length of canvas—its tracking, was the first of a range of means I used to mark the canvas without a traditional brush. I used screens and brooms, backsprays and gravity. Some works are executed outside; the weather plays its part too. What results are paintings where marks accumulate, residues stick and the wind leaves traces. Whatever the means used, all my works to date are predicated on an attention to process as an unfolding in time, as a procedure for the performance of specific and generally repetitive actions, made across the canvas.
In between painting I enlist a process that includes written notes, film and photos captured with my mobile phone, which I considers as an extension of my tactile and visual senses. My work shifts throughout the process between 2-d on the wall, stretchers, floor or outside on the land, and 3-d; tightly folding the painting in process into a rectangle of cloth along with any materials-such as died grass, sand, mud and other natural material that may have fallen or been dropped onto the flat surface. Once the works leave the studio, this performance continues as I change the means of display each time they are put on view in a new space: Sometimes stacking many paintings into a column or draping or stretching them in new ways.
In their foldedness, I invite others to think about time and painting in a different way. A fold interrupts flatness, enclosing volume so that the painting’s surface is understood as pliable, indeed as something packable and unpackable as it exists in stretched and un-stretched formats. Central to my work is the fundamental question of existence, a personal timeline. A reflection of one's own life and the passage of time.
Basel, October 2023
Mariejon de Jong-Buijs