Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to present a selective survey of work from the past 22 years by New York based artist Bill Jacobson. Jacobson first showed at the gallery in 1994, and this will be our eighth solo exhibition. The title is adapted from an essay by Eugenia Parry in Jacobson’s 2005 monograph of color street and landscape work.
The earliest series represented are the Interim Landscapes (1989) and Interim Portraits (1992-1993), that together defined Jacobson’s signature defocused style for over a decade. The Interim Portraits were made in the midst of the AIDS crisis, and the blurry images of men evoke the painful sense of collective loss that characterized the period. Unlike the autobiographical work of Mark Morrisroe and David Wojnarowicz, Jacobson’s work has tended towards the metaphoric and universal in its expression of loss.
Although his palette subsequently went considerably darker, this sensibility continued in the Songs of Sentient Beings (1994-1995) and Thought Series (1996-1998). Since 2003 he has worked with a variety of themes, in color and in focus, all the while retaining his meditation on the human passage through the world. A Series of Human Decisions (2005-2009) depicts a wide range of intimate, focused places from the real world, emphasizing the complexities of spaces and objects that people both create and encounter on a daily basis. The geometry found in these is echoed in Some Planes, a series of desert landscapes from 2007-2008.
Most recently, Jacobson has been exploring a new body of work titled Place (Series). They are minimal still-lives, and are the result of placing rectangles of various sizes in a variety of both man-made and natural settings. Implied are notions of the infinite and the play between ‘real’ and ‘abstract’, echoing the very white and very dark portraits first began twenty years ago.
Jacobson has exhibited widely throughout the US and Europe for over twenty five years, most recently in Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and travelling this fall to the Brooklyn Museum. Earlier this year he was included in Unsharf. After Gerhard Richter at the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg, Germany. Three monographs have been published on Jacobson, and they will be available at the gallery during the exhibition.
His work is included in over twenty five museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.