Jen Tough Gallery


Tangential: Mark Ashworth, Ridj Johnson & Jenny Phillips

FEBRUARY 23 - MARCH 08, 2018  |   RECEPTION: SATURDAY, MARCH 03, 5:00-7:00

Mark Ashworth, Razzle Dazzle, oil on canvas, 54 x 52, 2016

Ridj Johnson, Mercado 26, mixed media on panel, 48 x 48, 2018

Jenny Phillips,   Threadline #4  , encaustic on panel, 2017

Jenny Phillips, Threadline #4, encaustic on panel, 2017


Chaos: “A state of things in which chance is supreme; especially the confused state of primordial matter before the creation of distinct form.” I begin with a Random placement of shapes just like a toss of the dice. Then I proceed to formalize the composition with line and color, relying on spontaneity and intuition.
Inspiration comes from various sources. Patterns and symbols of the Celtic culture will give me a starting point. Nature is frequently a source of inspiration. Curious shadows on the floor, leaf patterns, rings of a tree and the ripple of light on a
calm body of water can all work. The stratum of desert mountains. The treasures revealed at an archeological dig as the layers of dirt and rock are removed. Photos of the Universe taken from the Hubble telescope also influence my work.



Ridj has back ground studying Architecture between Parsons School of Design and Cooper Union. Drawn to forms and colors, light and it's impact, has influenced both paintings and sculptures early on. Participating in Artist Residencies has created exploratory environments to push work further; to date MassMoca in North Adams, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. 

Tangential for me personally, represents the notion of disparate artists having individual works and the relationships, intended or otherwise, that shows together as a whole group, while still maintaining a separate voice. The peripheral voices, harmonious or discordant allow for tension and calm. For me, colors and surface textures highlight where both worlds coexist.



My current area of exploration is inspired by seemingly insignificant visual observations made in my studio environment, in nature and on neighborhood walks – insignificant but (to me at least) visually arresting: left-over loops of thread lying randomly about; a crisp white line in a dark gray rock; looms, stitching patterns in fabric; blades of grasses shooting out of a crack in a concrete sidewalk; a white chalk line on a slate blackboard; the play of light-on-metal in a box of freshly opened x-acto blades, textures and patterns found in nature.

In each case, I am attracted by the interaction of line and plane, softness and hardness, of regular against irregular, of the organic against the inorganic. This interaction of opposites intrinsically occurs in the way I approach the encaustic medium – my tools are a sharp steel blade and a soft plane of wax. I engage the one with the other in a methodical, meditative and rhythmic manner. I'm borrowing techniques from printmaking (dry point). I like to work either in silence or with repetitive music with the studio lights off - only natural light is used in the creation of this series, both for the stillness it creates and because it helps to reveal the subtle lines and marks as I work the surface with my blade. It calms me and takes me away from the frenetic and chaotic climate of our present world.