Jordan Belson: Landscapes features a series of collages made between 1970 and 1973. Exhibited here for the first time, Belson’s collages were created from torn paper painted in various colors. They were inspired in part by the 1000-year-old Japanese art of chigiri-e, which uses torn paper to create images of landscapes and flowers.
Jordan Belson (1926–2011) is a seminal figure in twentieth-century avant-garde cinema. He studied painting as a young man, receiving a degree in studio art from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1946. He initially achieved some success as a painter, exhibiting his work at SFMOMA and the Guggenheim Museum in the late 1940s. After 1950, however, he focused primarily on filmmaking, and although he continued to make paintings and drawings for the remainder of his life, he never publicly exhibited this part of his work again during his lifetime.
All works are Untitled, c. 1970–73, paper collage and mixed media mounted on board.
Intuition is the basis of my aesthetic judgment. The more you allow intuition to speak to you the closer you are to the truth, and the origins of the universe. I feel I’ve given up a lot of ways of thinking about certain things in order to be closer to intuition.
The Van Gogh syndrome is a myth that dies hard. We all want to believe somewhere there is an undiscovered genius, plying his or her revolutionary work in quiet obscurity. Belson is as close to that as I have encountered.
It has to be an unusual color harmony. If it’s too prosaic I don’t want to deal with it.
Like the ancient alchemists [Belson] is a true visionary, but one whose visions are manifested in concrete reality,
however nonordinary it might be.