Local artist unites ‘process and product’

The Arts — By on June 8, 2005 at 12:05 pm

Condensing line, form and movement to the point of unity, the work of local artist Jeff Boris featured in a recent exhibit at Marywood University explores, in the artist’s words, “the ambiguous space and time that a painting has the potential to create.”


The work implies a nebulous space “…mediated by linear, deliberate marks, and emphasized by immediate, impulsive, sensitive color modulations,” exposing its audience to “an eternally reflexive situation.”

Exhibit 2


The exhibit marked the completion of Boris’ master’s degree in art education. Boris also conducted his undergraduate studies at Marywood and, in 1998, he traveled to Florence, Italy, taking part in the university’s inaugural exchange program with the internationally recognized Studio Arts Centers International.

Boris said the most valuable thing he gained from his experience at Marywood was maturity. “It always seemed to be easy to make art to me, and so I would try to make it harder than it really was,” Boris said. “When I started my grad studies I initially was making these fairly small pieces out paper, layering sheet after sheet and adhering them with paint or glue until eventually they made these weird organic mounds.”

Exhibit 3 Exhibit 4

At the heart of this process, Boris said, was an urge “to unite process and product” which manifested itself as “layering, building, digging, scratching.” “I would try to connect ideas that I had gleaned from some random source, very Postmodern, and it just wasn’t me,” he said. “I was just trying to skirt some sort of Abstract Expressionist notion of creating space.”

Contrasted with that programmed rigidity, Boris’ latest work breaks out of its frame, wraps around and engages you, communicating subtleties through alternating bands of color, large stripes and muted shifts in background. The exhibit reveals an artist in harmony with his means of expression.

“Prior to my master’s studies, making art was an isolated event that occurred amongst other isolated activities – very singular,” Boris said. “By now I’ve become more self-reliant and have more of a grasp and more control of what type of art I want to make.

“It just works out so much better when I let the medium do the work and then gradually infuse my own thoughts into the work.”

Exhibit 5 Exhibit 6

Boris said he is interested in the “rawness and potential” each painting possesses and strives to maintain in his work the balance between the known and unknown.

“The thing that grabs me the most right now is stopping before I’ve overworked them,” trying to maintain a freshness that’s where the painting’s life is.”

To contact the artist, e-mail borisjeff@yahoo.com.

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