Joseph Marioni

Color as presence. Color as image. An object with a logic that makes a congruence of paint and canvas. The canvas itself is the figure; it is vertical. The color must not become an extension of the wall but be a presence on the wall – the edges of the very thin stretcher bars are not perpendicular to the wall but rounded back so that the canvas is pushed out from the wall and has its independence from the wall punctuated.

Each color calls for its own scale and shape. Color and plane must be in tune. Somber colors tend to spread and envelop, and are generally given a rectangle of human height. The clarity of brighter hues is more readily contained by smaller, crisper rectangles.

Paint is applied to the canvas after it has been stretched and hung. The paint flows from top to bottom making visible its liquidity an the dictates of gravity, as it congeals into a unified skin of color. The flow is regulated by a roller on a pole that becomes an extension of the artist’s body an permits a direct transference of the medium from one figure to another. The more personal markings of a hand-held brush would provide information that would interrupt the sensation of the plane of color. Just enough layers (usually three or four) are applied in rows of flows to fully establish the color. Neither surface nor process are permitted to call undue attention to themselves. All is balanced. Rigor, restraint, and clarity mark Marioni’s work.

The same clear means that create an objectification of the sensation of color conspire to subvert that objectification with illusion. The rounded edges of the stretcher and the spreading of the rolled flows of paint as they reach the bottom of the canvas motivate the painting up from the floor and out from the wall, making it hover more than hang. The individual layers of paint are thin enough to maintain some transparency and transform the physicality of the canvas into a planar membrane of light.

Object becomes painting. Sensation becomes experience – ordered and ritualized. Color becomes consciousness. Seeing out becomes seeing in.

From: Klaus Kertess, “Die jüngsten Arbeiten von Joseph Marioni” in: Jörg Dauer et al., Liquid Light. Joseph Marioni. Painter (exh. cat. Museum Wiesbaden), Vienna 2018, p. 153.


In the exhibition:

Joseph Marioni
White Painting No. 2, 2005
Acrylic on canvas
210 × 210 cm
Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg


Additional information about the artist