JEFFREY LONG, SHIMMIES AND ORCHARDS
Paperback, 72 pages
Joseph Martin Burke
By 2003, as Long was building himself an adjunct studio on his ranch 125 miles north of San
Francisco, he discovered an approach that amplified the buoyancy of his paintings. Using a
lighter touch in terms of tones, textures, and sensibility, he juxtaposed painted striations and
loopy biomorphic forms. As in his previous work, the resulting paintings also reflected his
environment. The ranks of pear trees that lined neighboring orchards found parallels in semiorderly
rows in Long’s paintings including his Orchard and RipRap series. The winding, wobbly
shapes of the Shimmy series seem to relate to the Zen garden-like ridges of soil thrown up by
Long’s old tractor.
It is in the Shimmy, Wobble and China Basin series that Long most enthusiastically embraces the
upbeat, high-key components of mid Twentieth-Century Modernism. Growing up as siblings,
Modernism and jazz reunite in these works.
When he is painting, Long’s instinct is always to reshuffle the deck, throwing together the
seemingly incompatible and hoping for a new equilibrium. His work breathes conviction into
the painting enterprise by encouraging some of its chief attributes – finesse, power, beauty
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