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JJ Manford 03 April 2024 - 08 June 2024

Galería Marta Cervera is honoured to present Jaune Brilliant, JJ Manford’s first solo show in Spain and in Europe.


The show is composed of ten works which present domestic spaces inhabited by artwork, collectible furniture, textiles, decorative objects, and nods to popular culture. The title of the exhibition, Jaune Brilliant, refers to colour, an essential element of Manford’s work. In particular, a yellow that reminds us of light, happiness, warmth, and intelligence. By entering the interiors created by Manford, we discover this ‘jaune brilliant’ and the Mediterranean luminosity which emanates from some of his paintings.


JJ dreams his spaces. His houses are in part inspired by reality- a photo, a film, a mid-century design- and in part his own invention. The body of work created for this exhibition reflects the imagination of the artist on his imminent trip to Madrid. The son of two architects, JJ draws on objects to create synergies between his memory of childhood, and the Spanish imaginary, seen from a distance. He incorporates the works of other creatives into his pieces- painters, architects, designers, and filmmakers- domesticating them, and converting them into his own. The results are surprising and above all, eclectic interiors in which we are submerged: the house of Tàpies with an Elie Nadelman sculpture and a Manford rug; a library with a work by Miró, a floor of Catalan tiles and a Mexican vase; a stone porch with a Picasso ceramic and a couple toucans; or the living rooms of Pedro Almodóvar’s films: the quintessential imaginary of Spain.


Mysterious interiors and with a lot of character in which, however, no human figures appear. The only living elements in JJ’s paintings are animals, plants, or domesticated nature, which can be appreciated from a veranda or through the windows of a living room.  The appeared absence of people allows us to, paradoxically, perceive the essence of the human spirit and its ultimate expression: art. In this way, Manford’s houses become metaphors for a portrait. They evoke an intimate landscape, without ceasing to be iconic, clearly Spanish spaces, with historic works of emblematic artists, or with characters from American pop culture. In any case, they are striking; in their colour, their use of light, their texture, and their eclecticism. JJ Manford makes us enter his world without filters, which demonstrates the mastery of his painting.

JJ Manford (1983) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Drawing upon art historical sources, personal as well as projective memories, textiles and the rural New York landscape, JJ Manford’s works explore themes of nomadism, isolation, the sublime, the psychedelic and transcendent, with a compositional sense that often employs a tension between figuration and abstraction. Recent solo and two person shows include “Greenport Magic” at Arts and Leisure Gallery (catalogue available, with essays by Will Blythe of The New York Times, and Jon Lutz of 106 Green Gallery), Harlem, NY, “Wanderers and Wildflowers” at John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY, “Liminal Grove”, One River Gallery, Allendale & Englewood, and “Through Every Leaf” (with Max Razdow) at Freight + Volume Gallery, NYC. JJ’s work and curatorial projects have been written about and mentioned by such publications as Artforum, Hyperallergic, The New Yorker, Huffington Post, Art Fuse, Wall Street International, Ephemera NYC, Gorky’s Granddaughter (video interview), and On-Verge (interviewed by Katherine Bradford).

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