Paul Jacobsen “Mouthpiece”

Tanja Grunert Gallery

poster for Paul Jacobsen “Mouthpiece”

This event has ended.

By definition, the word “art” suggests human workmanship - the very opposite of nature’s workmanship. Within this framework, the vision behind traditional landscape painting’s efforts to depict the sublime is a thinly veiled human construct with a dark sub-narrative of western colonial expansion that accompanied the mastery (and depiction) of nature. Jacobsen rails against this constructed separation between humans and the notion of nature as other. His new work takes the form of lushly painted but unfinished vignettes of pristine landscapes, an artisan wood cabin doubling as camera obscura and a portrait of his mother pregnant with the artist.

As the natural world loses acreage and is replaced by nostalgic simulations, so diminishes our ability to distinguish mediated experience from reality. In Jacobsen’s paintings, the sections of raw linen and quickly painted gesso stand in sharp relief to the highly finished sections of painted greenery. The romantic vision of nature ends abruptly within each painting but the artist then reintroduces elements harvested from the environment affixing wood beams to the paintings’ edges as armatures and frames. Represented nature and totems from nature are collapsed in this revisionary take on landscape painting, and questions our perception of what is natural.

Jacobsen’s cabin is the centerpiece to a collection of artistic luminaries rendered in graphite, handbooks for radical visions of society and personal artifacts. They symbolically come together as commodities in a store display, projecting a candor and genuineness we readily associate with the quality and value guaranteed by the commercial goods of popular culture. Centrally positioned in this display is an American flag projected upside down through the camera obscura - a blatant call of distress, framed by a roughly assembled collage of portraits: cultural players of mass control. Jacobsen’s camera obscura calls attention to our growing dependency on the transient forms of technology and addresses how perceptual shifts can create harmony or discord.

The exhibition culminates in a portrait of the artist’s mother referenced from a 1976 vintage photograph taken during her pregnancy. Looking into his origins and commodifying his own life, as artist, vanguard, hippie, and intellectual, he acknowledges the inevitability of commercial exchange and the domestication of individuality and free-thinking within the current cultural system.

Paul Jacobsen (born 1976, Denver, Colorado) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been included in exhibitions at Mass MOCA, Aspen Art Museum, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Kentler International Drawing Space amongst others.



from November 17, 2011 to December 23, 2011

Opening Reception on 2011-11-17 from 18:00 to 20:00


Paul Jacobsen

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