Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Post Human Biomes by Jonah Jacobs at Journey Art Gallery

Recycled, repurposed and remarkable.

Wow!!   Okay good, I can quit now.   Well, not really. There is much more to say about the current show at Journey Gallery because one cannot really appreciate these pieces in a photograph or by text. I will do my best to explain why you need to come by and see this show which is now even better as the artist has agreed to a second month of exhibition time!

Jonah Jacobs is a Cleveland artist, graduate of Antioch College, U S air force vet (82nd airborne) and can claim Denmark as his place of birth.  Google his name and dozens of pictures will turn up, all intriguing but none that will do as much justice as seeing the pieces in person. Don’t let the large wall or floor sculptures think you can’t own an original, the gallery is bursting with affordable pieces that can be mixed and matched to create a one of a kind display in your own space. One is good, but a couple of units together bring out the best of each one. The wooden support boxes for some of the works are all handmade as well so keep that in mind.

The official posted statement gives better insight behind the purpose of these works, but a couple of phrases summed up the concept to me….”unlock the mysteries of natural structures…and (explore) how complexity is created out of simple shapes and unconventional materials.”   Unconventional perhaps, unexpected absolutely. Fortunately the materials for each piece are written on the back along with a date and signature so you know each work is original and personal.

What will strike you first are the 7 large wall pieces that play with color field concepts in dimensional form. Squares, half domes and an elongated format are so overwhelming rich in surface and color that one just wants to touch them…they look soft and fuzzy, but are actually stiff and solid. How fibers, shreds, mop tails, and cotton swabs can look like overgrown lichen on an alien plant is truly amazing to see….(don’t ask how I know they don’t feel like they look….)

One large free standing piece occupies the center of the gallery, a mushroom top shaped object, 3 feet across and about 18” deep, entitled Accretion 1, which is made of what appears to be deeply dyed wooden spikes. They are not wood. Look closely and the source will be easily detected. As I was working my around these forms, a creepy feeling arose…what if they moved? These creations could easily be props in a syfy movie, creatures that undulate and “breath” when the protagonist is not looking.

Another large work on the wall, entitled Peridium 1, resembles the suction cups on an octopus tentacle but without the appendage, just an oversized tumor of things that could start opening and closing at any moment making that squishy slurping noise sound techs are so fond of. But if one wishes to avoid the ick approach and view them as plush shag carpets, then feel free to get lost in the depth of surface and tone. Are we to see oversize microscopic slide views of unknown living forms, or dried flower arrangements from the 25th century? Who knows, the possibilities for your imagination and interpretation are endless.

The artist is making a return to Canton for this upcoming First Friday so stop in to meet him. If you want the best selection of his smaller works, come by well before that however as a few are already gone and more will be sure to find new homes.  

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