With the weight of the world as it is, imagine celebrating being with what appears to be joy. This is what Jodie Manasevit does each day when she paints. This is not to say that Manasevit herself is joyful, or hopeful, or even optimistic; she is beset with the same conditions of despair and fright that assault the rest of us. Yet, can a painting be fiercely gentle, or ferociously quiet? To insist on a roar of color, even if its dimensions are comparatively small? Manasevit is not naive, nor are her paintings; born in 1951 she has been at this for a very long time, transitioning her approach from a structuralist sensibility around the turn of the last century into her painting’s current unconstrained condition––each day a new break with a rule never fully established. Consequently, she attains not the transcendence of the 20th century’s struggles with abstraction, but a double transcendence of abstraction beyond polemics. Like others in her generation, her work revels in a victory already won, a perpetual anarchic accomplishment of the beyond that can finally refuse to fight. Manasevit’s paintings, although highly skilled, do not try to outdo you, they make an offering of something that she has found, a momentary bit of concentration beyond or within the crushing quotidian din, reminding us that the pilot light of our humanity is still burning. These days, it may be enough to say that her paintings don’t lie, that they are what they are, not tautological (they are not trying to prove anything) but unpretentious; they present their exceptional color condition without malice or contempt, each a surprising piece of peace that, thanks to Jodie Manasevit’s focused efforts, is manifest and multiplied daily.
Manasevit’s solo exhibitions include Berry Campbell, White Columns, Condeso Lawler, and Eich Space galleries in New York; Worcester Art Museum (Massachusetts), Jersey City Museum (New Jersey), Roger Williams University (Rhode Island) and Diacono Fine Art (Boston). Recent group exhibitions in NYC include 1Ensemble at Cathouse Proper, Color Affinities at Key Projects, Chain Reaction at The Painting Center, Small Works at Baruch College and SideshowNation V1 at Sideshow Gallery. Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1951, Jodie Manasevit lives and works in Brooklyn, NY and Brookline, MA. She received her MFA from Hunter College in 1985 and was part of the adjunct faculty at Northeastern University from 1996-2015.