Bill Jacobson

figure, ground

March 16 - May 26, 2017

Julie Saul Gallery is pleased to announce figure, ground, our ninth solo exhibition with New York based artist Bill Jacobson.

figure, ground is linked conceptually to Jacobson’s previous Place (Series). After exploring images in which rectangular forms were placed in a variety of spaces, this new work depicts his interest in the undulating lines inherent in the human body. The figures in these photographs look away from the camera towards a natural landscape that becomes increasingly out of focus as it recedes. Working with an analog 8 x 10 camera, they are depicted in extraordinarily sharp detail, especially in contrast with the softness of the background.

Through the shift in focus and by looking at people’s backs, Jacobson references and contradicts the traditions of both landscape and portrait photography. The photographs suggest that we all face the unknown, as well as our inherent vulnerability in traversing the world around us. These themes are consistent with those in most all of Jacobson’s output over the past twenty-five years.

In addition to the seven large-scale figure, ground prints, the gallery will exhibit several new close-up figure studies from an adjacent series titled Lines In My Eyes. The close proximity of the camera to the figures, the dark tonalities, and the accompanying sensuality together recall Jacobson’s Thought Series from two decades ago.

A forty page book published in conjunction with the exhibition will be available for $40. Conceived and designed by the artist, it contains twenty-one black and white and color plates as well as essays by Bill Arning, director of The Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, and art historian Dr. Barbara Stehle.

In the early 1990s, Jacobson first received broad acclaim for his Interim Portrait series which addressed the loss felt by so many in the midst of the AIDS crises. He has since exhibited widely throughout the United States and abroad, and his work is in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and many others. Five monographs have been published of his photographs and are available at the gallery.

Bill Jacobson is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012, an Aaron Siskind Foundation grant in 1995, and residencies at Bogliasco Foundation, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Yaddo, the Edward Albee Foundation, Blue Mountain Center, and The MacDowell Colony.

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