Bill Jacobson

Songs of Sentient Beings

February 15 - March 23, 1996

The Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce our second solo exhibition of new york by Bill Jacobson: Songs of Sentient Beings. The exhibition will consist of nine large scale black and white photographic images, all figurative, silhouetted against rich dark grounds. Unlike the pale and eerie Interim Portrait and Figure series which maintained a very consistent format, this selection of images is extremely diverse, drawing from many genres of figurative photography. For example, one of the two (40 x 50") prints represents a back—androgynous and sensual—the other a figure bending over, elongated and sculptural. Although Jacobson's work over the last five years has focused primarily on loss and desire in the gay community, as does this show as well, there are female images included—a frontal torso, proud and hieratic, and a woman in an interior, reminiscent of French impressionist cafe scenes. The mood remains elegaic, but Jacobson is less hermetic and conformist to a model in his choice of subjects and poses.

Since his last solo show with the gallery in 1994, Jacobson has exhibited widely in the United Sates and Europe. On March 8, a major survey show of 80 international contemporary photographers entitled Prospect 96 will open at the Frankfort Kunstverein. Exhibition curator and museum director, Peter Weiermair, is reproducing a recent work by Jacobson, (a portrait in profile) on the announcement and catalog cover for the exhibition. Jacobson's work has entered several major museum collections in the last two years, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The New York Public Library, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Princeton University Art Museum.

In a review of the London Photographer Gallery's show in 1995, critic Simon Watney wrote in Artforum "While documentary photography may produce instructive and often harrowing depictions of some aspects of the (AIDS) epidemic...such photography cannot register the issues of forgetting explored so vocatively by Jacobson...Jacobson is that rare thing, an artist whose form perfectly conveys his subject matter; the quality of the print is entirely coterminous with the significance of the image."

Vince Aletti, arts editor of The Village Voice wrote in the January issue: "Jacobson give style content: the dense fog that suffuses his pictures of men suggests a rich emotional state...His images seem to be fading before our very eyes, as transient and unfathomable as life itself. It's a dark but strangely luminous vision, and it seems just right just now."

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