When I watch a Robert Janitz painting, the image materializes only to disappear. This movement, its blur, emulates the technological screens of our present. Hung parallel, the installation of works conflates paint with space and media. First, we can see these paintings set up equitably around the room. Spread out horizontally, slung against the wall. The vertical frames wend their way around. Lined up one after another, the canvases box the images on the inside. On the surface of each work a gradient of color. The ascension of the ombre fills the canvas to produce a transition, smooth. Against this ground large wide brushstrokes form another layer, a wipe. The up and down brushstrokes detach from the corners of the image; they guide the eyes in a certain kind of looping rhythm. Over the course of a month, these marks develop, alter in color. And so, as I scan, I see two time-based process: the first of minute, closed brushstrokes that form a gradient and the second open brushstrokes submitted to a photo-synthetic process. The open strokes fix the image of the gradient in place; they too alter in their appearance. The image fluctuates, transmitting and receiving.
The frame emits a steady source of light and the background image allows a place for the distracted, stimulated eyes to rest. Yet, in Janitz’ paintings, there is a distraction, a delay. As an intermediary, the flat painted screen awkwardly separates and joins the transmission of image from the immediacy of its reception. As watchers, we take in the stream of paintings, the mind making sense of the contiguous sequence. Each canvas, its ground, pulls the seer into a visual relationship, a corporeal exchange. However, the smudges of open brushstroke insist upon a distance, the there and then of the staged action. This ambiguity pulls the layers of painting from one another. As matter, the pigment, moves into streams, the works move into space, only to recourse to the flatness of the gradient. Rather than insisting on a flow into the present, these works agitate, retreating from their user’s time and regress to their alternative moments of production: the time-based application of the ground as well as the development-time of the over-painted strokes.
We can see how Janitz rehearses layers of negation. His canvases trespass installation and turn to painting. They articulate both the process of their making and the limitations of the body to perceive. However, in making them manifest as visual screens, Janitz also disarticulates the work from his hand to join to the moment of the viewer. The result is a painting that divides as it joins, records as it transmits, receives as it offers reception. The images imparted by these paintings take place in the bodies of their watchers. When I’m watching a Robert Janitz painting, I’m experiencing multiple time based processes. The works rehearse the body captured as it is being made a subject. These incandescent, multi-color surfaces fold their viewers into a network of shifting relations between body, light, tool, image, and time.
– Piper Marshall (Meyer Riegger press release)