I would study the light from sunrise to sunset and from this spectrum I created a reductive field of colors which then took on permanent shape in the form of a Torus.
With her vibrant work, Jessica Moritz aims to create a sense of order and calm in the chaos of everyday life. Inspired by the captivating qualities of light, the artist creates carefully balanced geometric objects that provide the viewer with an almost hypnotizing, immersive experience. Sustainability is central to Moritz' artistic practice. The artist works with reclaimed materials which she gathers on her trips and subsequently transforms to give them new life and purpose.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. Did you always want to be an artist?
A. Art has always been part of my life. I was lucky enough to grow up in a family in which culture and arts were valued and encouraged. My mother always painted and eventually became an antiques dealer. We always had art books, music and, in general, a great diversity of people around the house. I didn’t know what I wanted to be, but I knew I wanted to create and share my vision with the world. After years of studying, working, traveling, meeting artists, visiting museum and galleries, trying, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, I understood that art would be my way of sharing my point of view and the tool to make my vision reach a different audience.
Q. Your work takes on many different forms and formats - could you take us through your creative process?
A. In my practice, there are key elements such as color, light, shapes, letters, and space. Each of them help me to create a format that express the vision I have and is a tool to make the viewer part of this vision. Most of the time, I start by creating color harmonies and cutting shapes, a reductive process that aims to keep only what is relevant. The observation of light is also a key step in the creation of my work. For example, the Light Torus series was made based on my observations of light and my personal reflections on the lockdown situation. I started by observing light and creating color harmonies for each piece. I would study sacred geometry and see how this can be applied to architecture and our current situation. The first Torus I made was on canvas. After seeing the piece on the wall, I understood that the shape itself needed to be the base of the painting and that the gesture of cutting and recycling was essential to my process. Each step of the process is part of the message and brings the artwork closer to my initial vision.
Q. Which artists or art movements inspire you?
A. The movement of light and space, colorfield painting and geometric abstraction are my main sources of inspiration. When I see the work of Carmen Herrera, Helen Frankenthaler, Bridget Riley, Judy chicago or Sarah Morris, I get inspired to create my own universe. Each of them has accomplished so much in their field and still do. They paved the way for me, and for other woman artists, to be part of the art world today. They showed us how colors can be a medium to carry emotions and convey a meaningful vision. Their use of color in painting, design, installation, and public art forces us to rethink the way we approach painting and art itself. They all have a very personal vision that, over the years, has become an iconic statement within the art world.
Q. You often use reclaimed materials as a base for your work, what is the philosophy behind this?
A. Over the last two years, I chose to be a reductive artist for many different reasons. My studio is in Tel Aviv, in an area where there are many workshops belonging to artists, and small businesses and where recycling is not really encouraged. When, on a daily basis, you see plates of wood, MDF, cardboard and paper that are thrown away without really being used, you need to do something about it at some point. For years, I was an artist who worked on canvas; this new step forced me out of my comfort zone. For me as a painter, the canvas had become in many ways a constraint. There is something sacred about painting on canvas that is linked to certain rules and this can weigh you down in the process. The act of cutting shapes, selecting and repurposing the appropriate material has provided me with a better way to translate my vision. I furthermore think that us artists have an important role to play in society and that is to bring attention to subjects that matter and give, in a visual way, a voice to what is happening in the world.
Using materials or techniques that will cost us more than they elevate our message is harmful and doesn’t make any sense today or in the future.
Q. Your work seems to recurrently enter into a dialogue
with its environment, is
this something you try to achieve consciously – and if so, do you create with a specific environment in mind?
A. I think it is time that we address the topic of climate change in the arts, not only as a subject but as part of the process. As artists, we all have different narratives to share, but we also have to think a step further and tap into the legacy of what we do and how. Using materials or techniques that will cost us more than they elevate our message is harmful and doesn’t make any sense today or in the future. Over the course of the last year, we all had to resort to a more sustainable lifestyle to be able to make a living but what will remain after the pandemic is over? If you create work using reclaimed material, you represent the different issues we are facing in a very direct way - you make a difference and encourage people to be more involved.
Q. Does your own living environment, the city of Tel Aviv, have an impact on your work?
A. Living in Tel Aviv has
definitely influenced my work and the way that I create. Having the chance to see Bauhaus architecture on a daily basis, as well as the light of Israel, the
different cultures, and how people co-exist
clearly impacts my
ideas and the way I bring them to
life. On many levels,
it raises questions
related to boundaries, languages,
space and sustainability. Tel Aviv knows such a rich variety in culture,
united in many different ways. Growing
up in Paris, France, I was surrounded by diversity and
division. Living in Tel
Aviv, I discovered new bridges between people, their culture and urbanism.
Q. You have stated that your work is the product of extensive research into color theory – could you elaborate on your findings?
A. In the Torus Series for example, each work displays different colors in different orders that together create a unique harmony. During the lockdown in Tel Aviv, I started to observe the light that would come in through the windows; I also worked with dichroic cubes and mirrors to reflect this light in its ever-changing appearances. I used photography, video, the pantone app and color pencil drawings to capture its effects. The spectrum of light is constantly changing, which makes this exercise an infinite journey. I would study the light from sunrise to sunset and from this spectrum I created a reductive field of colors which then took on permanent shape in the form of a Torus. One of my goals was to create a harmony that is in a way universal - as we all have access to light these color harmonies are, in a way, part of our collective experience. I observe light in physical reality and aim to solidify this intangible moment, to translate my personal experience into an artwork.
Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer?
A. I would like the viewer to experience an escape in the form of their own interpretation of - and interaction with - the piece in that moment. Light is hope, an expression of time, and intangible until you choose to “frame” it. In each work, I choose to reduce one day of light movement to a specific color scheme. Each painting proposes a new way of looking at things, not only Art.
I furthermore wish the viewer to find relief. I believe we all faced some challenges over the last year that lead us to reduce our world to essential interactions only. My hope is that these interactions bring joy, a better understanding of what surrounds us and elevate our capability for reflection.'
Q. What would you still like to achieve as an artist?
A. There are so many projects that I wish to create, so let’s list them from the most accessible to the most extravagant ones: I would like to work on a bigger scale and create works such as murals, site specific installation or public art, both in Israel and in other countries; I would love to dematerialize my work and create a full sensorial experience. I am interested in developing video art installations related to my color fields in order to make my projects travel more easily; I would also like to be part of projects that encourage collaboration and improve relations between Israel and Palestine; I definitely want to create more accessible and sustainable tools and materials, both for me and for the next generations; something that would take me out of my comfort zone would be to curate exhibitions that show hard edge, color-field, and abstract geometric artists that I wish everyone knew; it could be cool as well to collaborate with brands to create wearable art and limited editions to make my work more accessible to a larger audience; I would like to partner with shipping companies to create a program of education that will raise awareness about the ozone and encourage people to recycle, upcycle and be mindful about the future; I would love to be part of group and solo exhibitions in Paris, London, and New York; I also wish to see more art fairs in the Middle East that create bridges and address boundaries within our cultures; home has become such an important factor in our life and its design matters - it would be amazing to create textiles or furniture with fellow designers and brands to make my work more accessible and the world more colorful; finally, I would like to join forces with others to have more diversity in the arts, for example, to include more women and Bipoc.