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JPW3, Solid Single Burner

Amanda Sanfilippo

JPW3, Installation View.

Stepping into the coral-like trove of Solid Single Burner, the LA-based artist JPW3’s solo at Michael Jon Gallery, is like entering a process grotto. There is strong physical and poetic cohesiveness throughout—a transfer of imagery, materials and ideas coupled with literal changes of state as elements dematerialize and incorporate into one another in a self-referential cycle.

The visual foundation of the show is a collage of black-and-white newsprint lining the walls of the dramatically vertical gallery space, depicting full-bleed images of popcorn and the saw-toothed ridges of anechoic foam (the spiky interiors used to block sound in recording studios). This wallpaper, held intact with shiny flecks of electrical tape, seamlessly wraps the space including the backside of the anterior door. The newsprint represents a selection of the many-image tabloids of the artists’ design, and when combined with another essential material in his practice, hot wax, they become a transfer medium depositing the printed image from the sooty paper onto canvas and other surfaces.

This alchemy is displayed in four of the wall works combined with melted sunbursts of richly pigmented ink. One of these, “Ferrari Schematic with Single Solid Burner” (2014), which displays enigmatic images of both, worships the prowess of a Ferrari engine—the burning of fuel resulting in multitudes of synchronized explosions, like the frenetic popping of popcorn. A kernel of popped corn is just that, a tiny explosion as form and a manifestation of energy. Real popcorn encrusts the tabloid walls, and forms a luscious gunk ring around the interior of a large aluminum stew pot filled with periwinkle-colored opaque wax. Chains and rope and various wax-coated matter shoot up to the 20-foot ceiling in “Flamingo” (2014). A sculpture, it is also the source of energy and material for the other works, save for the cast aluminum “Silencer” (2013). The hot pot and coil of the single burner it rests upon is a reminder of the piece’s own making and the sweet burnt smell of liquid wax churning hot and translucent.


JPW3, Installation View of Solid Single Burner. Left to right: RailRari, 2014. Ink, wax with ink transfer on canvas. 36 x 24”. 4P2F, 2014. Ink, wax with ink transfer on canvas. 84 x 60”. Plain Jane Chain Gang, 2014. Ink, wax with ink transfer on canvas, popcorn, aluminum foil on plywood. 96 x 96”.

Most invested in this last idea is “Plain Jane Chain Gang” (2014), produced flat on the floor in the center of the gallery just feet away from where it hangs horizontal for the exhibition. Like a Daniel Spoerri snare picture from the 1960s, which forever captured the beautiful mess of dinner tables, the piece is a record of the passage of time, and chance manifestations of a process. The 96” x 96” plywood surface is a wonderland of casual gestures, in this case the texture and relief of sunken popcorn and the fossil-like imprints of chain links (destined for “Flamingo’s” pot). Different colored batches of wax collide in gentle curves like the meeting of oceans. As in the Spoerri works, the piece was both produced and made itself ambivalently over the course of the installation, at times functioning as not much more than a surface for yet-to-be used materials, tools, and beer cans. The work’s final form is a delicious reminder that some good things can’t be rushed.