Bill Jacobson

Some Planes

October 30 - December 24, 2008

Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce our sixth exhibition of photographs by Bill Jacobson. Entitled Some Planes, the main body of the exhibition consists of a series of seven large vertically oriented desert landscapes and a related group of smaller images from the earlier project A Series of Human Decisions.

Between 1989 and 2002, Jacobson used his signature out-of-focus style as a reflection of collective dreams and memory, suggesting loss and the passage of time. More recently, he has used sharp focus to explore what it means to inhabit the physical, man-made world culminating in a body of work entitled A Series of Human Decisions. From 2002-2006, Jacobson photographed a variety of interior and exterior architectural spaces, all of which allude to the idea that, unless we are in natural settings, we live in relation to man made created spaces. Such spaces suggest that one “sees pictures”—that everyday objects exist in our minds as images. Six works from this series will be presented on the gallery’s entry wall.

While making such photographs, Jacobson found himself persistently drawn to the lines that separate planes in space. Such a “visual line,” he notes, “marks the edge of a picture frame against the wall; the place where wall meets ceiling, or where roof meets sky”. Such planar edges evoked for Jacobson works by Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, and Agnes Martin, all of whom have been influences.

This interest in planes and edges led Jacobson to travel repeatedly over the past two years to American deserts in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. His purpose was “not to make desert pictures in any traditional sense, but to further explore one more way in which planes join—this time on a vast scale.” Most of these works are minimal, bordering on the abstract, and allude to the vagaries of perception when confronted by such pared-down visual information. While the desert photographs are crisp and sharp, the palette is delicate and ethereal. In that sense this body of work circles back to Jacobson’s earlier soft-focus explorations. These are quiet pictures of vast spaces that lack any obvious reference to human endeavor or presence. As such, they summon a distinctly human interior-space, the “intimate immensity” identified by the French theorist of intimate interiority, Gaston Bachelard.

Bill Jacobson’s photographs are in the collections of numerous museums including the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Musuem , SFMoMA, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. His work currently figures in the group exhibition, Darkside, at the Fotomusem Winterthur, and in January will be the subject of a solo exhibition at Langhans Galerie in Prague. A book of A Series of Human Decisions will be published next spring by Decode Books in Seattle.

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