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Certain Shade of Green

  • Start

    08 January 2022
  • End

    12 February 2022
  • Artist

    Jayson Pettz Muring


By Cid Reyes

Different strokes for different folks.


Some artists use their public persona as a fulcrum to achieve celebrity and fame, though in actuality their work may be held less in esteem than the works of artists who prefer to keep their privacy to themselves. A classic example of this behavior is that between the flamboyant Andy Warhol and the reclusive Jasper Johns.

In propelling the development of their art, some artists choose to sublimate their works to the commercial demands of the market, while other artists prefer to enrich their works with their values and beliefs. Classic examples are the Pop artist Peter Max and the Abstract Expressionist Mark Rothko.

Against this essential background, we approach the New Year’s opening show at Altro Mondo, the third solo exhibition of Jayson Pettz Muring tantalizingly titled “Certain Shade of Green.” The artist himself shares that he derived the title and inspiration from the song of the American rock band “Incubus”. The album is billed as “S. C. I. E. N.C. E.” which, according to the band members, stands for “Sailing Catamarans is Every Nautical Captain’s Fantasy.”

To quote a band member: “Sometimes, we just sit around and come up with these for laughs. In other words, there’s not just one meaning. It’s just food for thought.”

A catamaran, by the way, is a multi-hulled water craft featuring two parallel hulls of equal size. It was invented by the Austronesian peoples which enabled their expansion to the islands of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

A reading of the lyrics helps clarify the theme and message.

“A certain shade of green

Tell me is that what you mean

They say move ahead

Could someone please explain to me

Your present lack of speed”

Since green is universally acknowledged as the color of the traffic light that gives the Go signal, the emerging theme then is procrastination.

At the outset, however, one cautions the viewer not to look for a literal correlation between the theme and Muring’s abstract works. To start with, abstraction rejects any depiction of reality, since its language is one of shapes, colors, forms and gestural marks. Indeed, the word “abstract” means “to separate or withdraw from something else” and therefore does not make visual references.

What is visually apparent, however, is Muring’s adoption of the color green, in its various medley of shades. One is hard-put to identify which particular shade of green dominates his canvases. And certainly, we have learned that photographs of artworks can be but an approximation of the actual painting.

But perhaps it will suffice to say that Muring courted the shades of forest green, emerald, shamrock, teal, moss green, and even a mirage of turquoise. Nonetheless, the subtleties and nuances of these shades of green engage the eye in a contemplation of the sea. Such a surface where one may see the swiftly sailing catamarans.

The effect is immersive and summons total retinal absorption. One perceives a diffusion of floating islands of greens moving together in harmony or dispersing away from each other. Muring’s canvases are drenched with aquatic light that quietly descends into the oceanic depths, asking nothing of the viewer but a submission to their chromatic spell. Indeed, they could in fact be a nautical captain’s ecstasy.

The works are composed as diptychs and triptychs, a favored format which accommodates the resources of an expansive space, an oceanic calm. But what these works will not accommodate is a literal interpretation of the Incubus lyrics:

“What are you waiting for

A certain shade of green

I think I grew a gray watching you procrastinate.”