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Alec Jacobson

These images taken from a series, called “Humans I See Every Day,'' present a triangular relationship intersecting the human figures, the written words and an (un)ambivalent observer. In “An Acquaintance of Rachel Rothenberg'' there are the written words, “GOSH…AREN'T YOU … Read More

By / February 27, 2008

These images taken from a series, called “Humans I See Every Day,'' present a triangular relationship intersecting the human figures, the written words and an (un)ambivalent observer.

In “An Acquaintance of Rachel Rothenberg'' there are the written words, “GOSH…AREN'T YOU GLAD WE WEREN'T ON THAT BRIDGE THAT COLLAPSED.'' This sentence from an I-35 bridge collapse “survivor'' is a likely response to the tragedy of human day-to-day, mundane activities. The figure inhaling Methylbenzoylecgonine molecules up her nostrils could just as easily have spent those seconds of her life standing coffee-in-hand on a cubical office floor, 100 miles from yesterday's 6-o'clock news tragedy glad to be safely distant. Safely Distant.

The written word may not only alter interpretation of a figure, but take over as the figure's metaphorically epistolary conductor. The piece, “Modest Mouse Cover Band Guitarist Who'd Rather Be Danny Glover,'' send messages to the reader not only in the form of its prominent text, but the text's prominence over the subject is a message in and of itself. The observer is forced first to read the text before gazing past the forms of the letters in order to see the subject, not unlike gazing past the prison bars of humanly unachievable dreams. To see finally only an imitation of the true human playing cover songs in a smoke-filled, Southern Comfort-soaked basement in rural Minnesota.

Yet a third combination arises when abutting word, observer and the human figure. Our reliance on the written word to provide depth is tossed away, when it complements a human figure in “Lauren Hamersmith and a Friend.'' Where the patriotic color scheme fits along a vertical marquee reading only “BLAahh,'' the universal admission of the human inability to provide always a Mariam-Webster data-based word for our spoken or written expressions.

The remaining works also explore this three-sided relationship as the roles of each change and multiply. Ten of such works are on display until March 12, at the Bronfman Center in New York City.

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