Jordan Baraniecki

‘The role of the artist is to open new avenues of perception’: Canadian artist Jordan Baraniecki

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Jordan Baraniecki is an artist who explores the relationship between material and paper through his drawings. He lives in Canada, and we got in touch to find out more about his work and how artists have the responsibility to raise questions


Who are you and what do you do?
In the context of this art interview, I’m a drawer with a background in photography. I live on the east coast of Canada in Halifax, NS, and am in my final year of an undergraduate degree specializing in drawing. Originally I’m from Saskatchewan, which is located in the middle of Canada; the rectangular province. Working primarily in the realm of drawing I use simple materials such as charcoal, conte, and pencils, to create abstracted forms with an emphasis on space with in the drawing.

What themes do you pursue?
With my work, I pursue the representation of an “object” in an unidentified location and time. The concept or theme could be translated into dealing with the elements of design such as line, space, form, and the relationship of positive to negative space.

Although some of the shapes in my drawings are from everyday objects they only serve as a starting point for how they translate into abstracted charcoal forms. Ultimately my work is the relationship between material and paper.

Ursula & Jones - Charcoal - 41.5" x 25.75" - April 2015
Ursula & Jones – Charcoal – 41.5″ x 25.75″ – April 2015

You say you’re “fascinated with the realm of contemporary drawing, artist’s sketches, and the representation of spaces that are ordinarily unseen”. How does this define your drawing? And how is it reflected in your photography?
When I began my research in drawing I was looking at the Vitamin D: Drawing Perspective books and the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawing Collections. These books have artists that strictly draw but also one’s that work in other mediums. I had to ask myself why there was a difference and why a drawing had to evolve into something else, such as a painting or sculpture. Everything came back to the nature of drawing though and that was enough to have me engaged with contemporary drawing.

I see through “photographer eyes” but my medium of choice is drawing. With photography; composition, balance, and especially space have always informed the way I think when dealing with different mediums. It just so happens that I feel I can communicate the idea of “space” better through a drawing than a photograph. So the purpose of photography in my work are projects that involve documentation and exercising a way of visualizing for my drawings.

Continuum - Digital File - 1:1 ratio each
Continuum – Digital File – 1:1 ratio each. Left: Atlantic Ocean, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2015.
Right: John Diefenbaker Lake, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, 2014.

You’re a member of the Invisible Artists Collective International. What is that and what does it entail?
I was invited to become a member of Invisible Artists Collective in September 2015, which is a group of artists from around the world who advocate for art “unseen”.

The philosophy of the collective, in part, is to create work that can make the invisible visible. That really resonated with me because I’m more interested in the shapes of negative space. In some of my drawings I go through the process of flipping negative space sketches into positive space forms. That transition is difficult to deal with compositionally but I’m engaged in the process to create a drawing that doesn’t necessarily exist in every-day life.

Working on Contact - Charcoal, Graphite, Sweat & Spit - 59.5" x 190" - November 2015
Working on Contact – Charcoal, Graphite, Sweat & Spit – 59.5″ x 190″ – November 2015

What role does the artist have in society?
I think the role of the artist is to open new avenues of perception with a motive to question rather than answer. When artists are making work and going through the process of discovery I believe it’s necessary to not know exactly what you are doing or what you are looking to achieve.

If I knew exactly what I was doing with my drawings I wouldn’t be doing them. Art is supposed to be difficult and the responsibility that I believe I have as an artist is to create new perceptions and raise more questions especially in the convention of drawing. It may be trivial to say that I don’t have all the answers to my own work, but persistence and curiosity are integral to the creation of great art.

Professionally, what’s your goal?
Professionally, I want to keep making art and open up new ways of thinking and questioning contemporary drawing. I hope to explore new compositions within the space of a drawing and build new ideas of working with charcoal on paper. The relationship with material and paper is my main focus.

SURROUNDINGS - October 26, 2015 Photo courtesy of Jordan Blackburn - http://jordanblackburn.ca
SURROUNDINGS – October 26, 2015 Photo courtesy of Jordan Blackburn

To see more of Jordan Baraniecki’s work go to jordanbaraniecki.com