Sergej Jensen's title for his new haunting group of paintings shown at Regen Projects, Classic, refers sportingly to the use of figures which is a new subject for the artist. Absent of the letters 'al', the word 'classic' connotes a more recent, semi contemporaneous aura or movement. The figures and subjects appear classical but on some canvases, the paint is applied so sparingly that the compositions come across as in progress. Jensen's painting looks fresh and glossily wet as if a ghost's ectoplasm recently exploded onto the canvas. Yet, on one surface the pool of pigment has been formed into an almost invisible semblance of a figure or pseudo angelic putti seranading a more visible lounging figure with a flute.
There is a fugitive materiality to Jensen's dimensional surfaces that are built up in some areas to pull and push perspective so that the viewer's brain tries to make out realistic figure ground relationships to no avail. This phenomenon is most effective in Jensen's darkest two works. In one canvas in particular next to the entrance, the velvety, textured, dark brown background seemingly wraps around the front of the central figure, pinning it to the surface or hiding it from view in a fog.
Another painting which left my mind frustrated, was composed of a clear cut tree grouping that was cropped far below the top summit of the canvas. The monochromatic handling of the trees and the figures flattened out the picture plane which made the painting look like a cartoon and in the end, humorous.
Jensen's exhibition at Regen Projects reaffirms the truism that the best way to see a painting is in person. Only then will the viewer begin to understand the artist's real impact on and original contributions to contemporary painting.