Surface Contradictions: The First Twenty Years
Stephen Daiter Gallery is pleased to present Joseph D. Jachna: Surface Contradictions 1958-1970, the artist’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Initially intended to be a career retrospective, the exhibition narrowed in focus upon our discovery of several storage boxes that held a wealth of previously unseen photographs dating from the artist’s graduate school days at the Institute of Design. We were stunned by both the breadth and the quality of this early work.
Surface Contradictions is comprised of over sixty previously unknown vintage photographs from the artist’s 1961 thesis project on the subject of water, along with images made several years later in Door County, Wisconsin. These photographs represent an overarching theme Jachna returned to time and again, all ideas of self - exploration, reflection, and expression. Incorporating opposing surfaces found in the outdoors – Rough/Smooth; Wet/Dry; Matte/Lustre; Luminous/Dark; Teeming/Empty; Opaque/Transparent – Jachna enhances natural contrasts, and from his simplified compositions, complex revelatory images arise.
For Joseph D. Jachna, photography has always been a spiritual practice. His photographs are quiet meditations—offerings from a lifelong naturalist. Jachna considers himself a poet with a camera, creating the visual equivalent of a Haiku. As with Haiku, the highest form of Japanese poetry, his ideas flow with an intensity created by combining a few carefully chosen elements in a spare and elegant framework.
Our French colleague and essayist, Agathe Cancellieri, for this exhibition’s accompanying catalog writes:
I am reminded of a quote by Charles Baudelaire published in Petits Poèmes en Prose in 1869:
”Parce que la forme est contraignante l’idée jaillit plus intense!”
- “The more restrained and concentrated the form, the more explosively the idea comes forth!”