Bill Jacobson: figure, ground
Stand in front of an infinite horizon. Space stretches out there; it seems forever. Thoughtful in its discreet uncertainty. A flat Earth almost makes sense here. The latitude provided is filled by looking and the reflections eyes can fill it with. Construction of will forms a journey of the things we each distinctly live with. Viewing the backs of folks gazing out into this blurring beyond is sort of away. Bill Jacobson’s figure, ground at Julie Saul Gallery is distinct and solid. The edges of figures are at odds with the nature, yet also somehow not. Traces of the body are out in landscape, lines on lines, forms flock straights but never straight. Feelings forming stillness in the background of the photographs. Jacobson makes a significant note when the plane behind the subject is referenced, “That’s the foreground to the viewer in the image.” These pictures are quite inside themselves, a spectacular universe of subtle slander to photography. Always headed one way, but never quite the result of expectation.
Watching interactions take light in certain sensitivity becomes hard to quantify. What are you looking at? Not really knowing is ok; working through takes a good amount of time. Knowing yourself is equally as difficult. So are conclusions. That introspective state motivates the qualities of Jacobson’s imagery. Color, black and white, a confusion of shapes and sizes. Genders are not nearly as significant as posture and pose. Light touches everything with the focus of mouth and mind. How does an individual figure out what’s real and what is pretend? Escape. Try too much, or not at all. Rhetoric quaint, repose physique, repurpose space, reinhabit nature. Try to make the pieces all fit—in a place totally forgotten. Get back—it feels like it’s coming from inside—hidden becomes unrecognized, open and explorative.
Does abstract exist?
Built up. Analysis and possibility, climb up high and fall down far. Pieces are real, parts are physical, space is filled in matter. What stretches in front of the people in figure, ground is not just trees and landscape. The space between them exists; there are no empty holes. It may be invisible but that place between is activated. Jacobson’s work has a different kind of void. Spend time and think, there is common knowledge and understanding. Think about everything. Trust in you. Is there something real? Is there something true? Don’t turn back. The face is indiscriminate, the languid quality of body is much more purposeful. And then the wind in field—picks up across that well. That wonderful blur, in space curled up in time. What could they possibly be thinking? About selves and sounds and minds or madness. All kinds of uncertain wonderful things.
Almost heard in noise something distinct but not quite thunder. The strength of the imagery is in outlines and semblance. Who’s to blame? Only Jacobson. Listen to vision, it’s nearly written down. People come around for fair or for folly. Neither is wrong. All is fair game. figure, ground is honed in these distinct explorations of collocate. The show is of viewers viewing viewers—visions vast, vexing, valued. That is a shameless act, not quite voyeuristic. All is layered, never absolute. Lacking in specificity, but allowing in adaptability. Do the people in the images become the people looking at the pictures? Or do they remain separate?
Bill Jacobson’s figure, ground is showing at Julie Saul Gallery through May 13th. To see more of Jacobson’s work click here.