My work is where I sort through ideas and emotions on the forefront of my experience. Sometimes I’m aware of the questions I’m asking, the situations I’m processing. Others (and this happens most of the time), I start working, and gradually themes emerge that reflect my experiences. If life is journeying, making art is mapping where I’ve been, enabling me to see what I’ve been learning and experiencing over longer expanses of time.
I gather found objects for the purpose of making art, and when I started this body of work, I was strongly drawn toward a piece of metal with recurring straight lines. I painted and printed it over and over, stamping thousands of parallel lines over the course of these pieces. I didn’t realize it at first, but this piece was an expression of what I was living.
Last autumn was painful. Heartbreak and loneliness contributed to deep dissatisfaction, and while I believe that these tough periods serve to enrich us, it wasn’t easy. There was an element of life that felt robotic; I would wake and work and sleep, and I struggled to find the beauty I usually experience in the midst of routine.During this time, my studio became a refuge and my artworks, confidants. So it shouldn’t have surprised me to discover that my repeating vertical lines described painful processes, the tic marks of day-in-day-out struggle toward light. Or that a repeating “OK” stamp, also printed from a found object, was an examination of responses to recurring pain.
Ultimately, though, putting my painful experience on canvas meant I was asking whether there was beauty to be found in it. Looking back on expanses of parallel lines, I know I’m better for it and wouldn’t change it if I had the chance.
Jacob’s latest exhibit, OK: Reactions to Repetitions, is on display at Crema, 15 Hermitage Avenue, through March 31.