Jewel Webb

These carved wooden paintings are a quest into honing precision of the hand, to create beautiful and indecipherable linear forms with painstaking exactness. This doomed pursuit of anthromechanical perfection provides the stage to investigate every formal variation possible within a tightly limited set of geometric constraints. Although inspired by the minimalist tradition of infinitely reiterated themes, the work firmly rejects the industrial materials and methods of fabrication in which those themes were historically explored. The framework of each piece is designed by instinct and approximation, then completed with rigorous exactitude, creating tension between shape and visual texture. Asymmetry, misalignment, and uneven weighting define the forms’ boundaries while they reveal an ordered regularity within.

These felt-tip pen drawings and wood carvings are a quest into the honing of precision in the hand, to the end of creating indecipherable forms with near-mechanical exactness. The grueling pursuit of this goal and its physical impossibility create tension in the designs, which defy their human origins both in content and material. The wood surfaces and stretched paper are prepared with a degree of care equal to the works themselves, and claim the familiar form of Painting while rejecting materials associated with the medium.

An homage to the minimalist tradition of simple, clean forms repeated in an infinite set of minor variations, the works nevertheless reject outright the conceit of geometric perfection by which minimalism has been historically marked, and marketed. Off-center, crooked, minutely astray - in short, intimately human - each piece remains unseverably attached to the hand, making unmistakable the labor invested.

Subjectivity and system are married in the process by which the artworks are designed, a simple series of decisions producing infinite etudes in the key of a few simple forms. Built from the skeleton up, the compositions have only the most limited capacity for alteration after drawing has begun, and the work of actually completing the drawings is conducted in a trance of systematic repetition. Thus each painting operates as a duality ~ both a preconceived work of art and the byproduct of a ritualistic meditation to which the viewer isn't party.


Jewel Webb graduated Cum Laude from the Maryland Institute College of Art in May of 2015 with a Bachelor's of Fine Art in Painting. They now live and make art in Brooklyn, New York.