Sergej Jensen made his recent series of paintings from reclaimed cotton money bags culled from banks across the United States and Europe. Each bag was split and stitched, one to another, into a series of taut, wonky rectangular grids. The finished patchwork of sacks forms both subject and ground of the work. Jensen described his earlier process as “painting without paint,” but in these works paint looms large, poured and pressed into the untreated cotton sacks to make abstract monochromes and odd figurative scenes derived from old-master paintings. As if floating over their fabric ground, their pale or muted hues appear from a distance as ghostly palimpsests.
The pendant pair Nude 1 and Nude 2 (all works 2016), blank save for the visible rows of stitches on the bags themselves, offer a knowing nod to the hand-drawn grids of Agnes Martin, while others incorporating patches of paint
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