Meditate on the Mysteries of the Cosmos with Jordann Wine’s Sacred Geometry Paintings [Interview]
Physics and cosmology have long been crucial to our understanding of the universe. Geometry’s role, though less obvious, is equally vital. Like many cultures before her, Washington DC-based painter Jordann Wine intuits the mysteries of the cosmos through sacred geometry, an ancient science often referred to as the “architecture of the universe.”
Rooted in recurring patterns found throughout the natural world, sacred geometry ascribes symbolic meaning to certain shapes and proportions. As such, Wine’s abstract work is deeply meditative, mesmerizing viewers with a glimpse into the infinite. “Working with the golden ratio, fractals, and gradients, these geometric abstract paintings … connect to notions of deep space in time, as well as deep space found in meditation,” she writes in her artist statement. “Seeking order out of chaos and interrupting rigidity of order with slight imperfections … is central to the meditative nature of [my] practice.”
Belief in an ordered universe created by divine hand has origins in ancient art, philosophy, and religion. Medieval cathedrals, Indian temples, Greco-Roman architecture, and Islamic mosques demonstrate sacred geometry’s far-reaching influence on cultures around the world. Wine loads her paintings with these instantly recognizable patterns, creating a safe space for viewers to dip their toes into the abyss.
Wine also woos viewers with an unexpected element: lots and lots of glitter. “Making use of the medium’s full range of iridescent, opaque, and translucent color qualities,” Wine transforms the crafty material into a reflective cosmic field. “Reflective surfaces instinctually remind people of water, the element most critical to survival,” she notes. “Glitter’s shimmering surfaces, reminiscent of light hitting water, attract the viewer into the work, evoking the appeal of both the movement of water as flow, and the introspective quality of water as stillness.”
In Today’s Q+Art Interview…
Jordann Wine discusses the benefits of organization and efficiency, going with the ebb and flow of the market, and maintaining mental health with hands-on art-making.
Which books, art-related or otherwise, belong on every artist’s shelf?
Jordann Wine: The Artist's Way was such a helpful book when I first started exploring art as a career. I think it can be helpful at any stage as an artist, even if you are just dipping your toes in.
Which cultural concepts, themes, or philosophies inform your work?
JW: Sacred geometry, natural patterns, and mathematics all inform my work. I love pattern-making and repetition. I also am a huge fan of organization, efficiency, and the concept of lean manufacturing. Although those don't inform my work per se, they do affect how I manage my practice as a business.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?
JW: Lina Iris Viktor or Hilma af Klint. I found Lina Iris Viktor's work on Instagram, and was blown away by the skill, concept, and overall look of the work—I can't wait to see it in person one day! I was introduced to Hilma af Klint and her work a few years ago, and am fascinated by her forward thinking and ideas while making art in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
What are you trying to express with your art?
JW: I hope that people who view my work can find a moment of calm, a respite from the busy world. I love adding seating elements about my exhibitions so the viewer can sit down and feel comfortable, and hopefully have a chance to take a deep breath.
What do you wish you learned in art school but weren’t taught?
JW: More mediums! I love exploring different materials, and can't wait to continue that exploration!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
JW: It's hard, and has taken me a number of years to maintain that balance. For me, scheduling vacations or research trips out of the studio are really important to help me fill my cup back up. Also, taking a day off or afternoon off to do something different or even relaxing at home helps me keep that balance.
What does generosity mean to you as an artist?
JW: Sharing my knowledge and learned lessons with other artists. I've learned from so many other artists over the years, and I can only hope to pay that forward to others.
What does success mean to you as an artist?
JW: Success as an artist to me means that you are enjoying what you are doing and what you are creating; you are continuing to learn and grow.
If you had to pick one, would you rather be a historically significant or commercially successful artist? Why?
JW: I'd rather be historically significant. I am grateful to have the commercial projects; they give me opportunities to learn and grow. But being historically significant means that I've had an impact on society in a way that is deep, and my work potentially would inspire a larger group of people beyond my lifetime.
How do you deal with the ups and downs of the market?
JW: It's taken time to get used to the ups and downs of sales and commissions. I now remind myself that things ebb and flow, and that the slower times are great opportunities to explore, have fun, and try new things with my art.
Have you ever turned down an opportunity? Why?
JW: Yes, because I knew it wasn't the right fit for me. Sometimes projects and/or clients do not align with my practice, and sometimes I just don't have the time to add another opportunity to my list of ongoing projects. Turning opportunities down is also a great way to keep my work/life balance in a good place. If I turn something down, I usually try to recommend another fabulous artist in my place.
What are you working on that you’re excited about right now?
JW: I'm currently exploring embroidery on paper and other materials. In summer 2020, I tried a few new experiments with embroidery thread on paper. I loved it, and am now using some time to explore this possible medium. I'm also always excited about glitter; I love working with it!
What do you do to maintain your mental health?
JW: Art is a huge part of maintaining my mental health. Art (with therapy and some medicine) got me through a terrible depression. Using my hands keeps me in a good place! I also find exercising, eating well, and making time to rest are really important for me.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of the artist.
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