For Immediate Release
Contact: Donna Seager
108 Throckmorton Ave.
Mill Valley, CA 94941
Seager Gray Gallery presents unearthed, an exhibition of works by artist Devorah Jacoby in Mill Valley, CA, October 18 to November 17, 2016. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, October 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm open to the public.
Three years since her last one person exhibition, Devorah Jacoby’s “unearthed” reveals a heightened painterliness and move toward abstraction while retaining the uncanny psychological and lyrical dimensions that have captivated her collectors from the start. At first glance, the viewer is struck by the more “beautiful” aspects of the works – the endless profusion of flowers, the alluring characters and vistas, but these are both utopian and dystopian scenes, reflections of a complex contemporary world.
Jacoby, a long time Bay Area resident was born in Chicago and moved to California. She studied law for two years at and switched to psychology, working for a time as an art therapist with children and adults. The children, in particular, she found to have an innate ability to translate fears and dreams not into words, but images. The power of expression that combines innocence in the face of dysfunction and confusion carried itself into the artist’s own work and led to the remarkable and very singular style that characterizes her paintings. Jacoby began her own art studies in earnest, working with such artists as Chester Arnold and Jeanne Lamosse at the College of Marin and taking courses at the San Francisco Art Institute and the California College of the Arts. In November, she will take an extensive workshop at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art with artist Alex Kanevsky, having won her place in a highly selective application process.
From the beginning, Jacoby’s approach to the canvas has been fearless, following a method akin to the way the subconscious or even unconscious works. She manifests everyday life, positioning and repositioning themes and tableaus – (the dinner table, a child in the vast outdoors, lovers, immersion in water, flight) in ways that allow for exploration of a singular identity, very separate, as a woman and artist. Fears and dreams are codified in scenes with an uncanny precision and power beyond words.
“Life is beautiful and rewarding, but it is also difficult and confusing,” says Jacoby. “I want to find the truth – to get at something true about living in the world.” Her source material is often her own life, with its relationships and complications. She does not fit easily, nor is she comfortable with the stereotypes and clichés of domestic life, despite her deep devotion to her family. Her complex childhood and free spirit find expression in the studio, a private and intimate space where she is granted free reign to do anything and act in any way. It is in the studio and on the canvas that she is able to plumb a rich interior life, a treasured secret self.
Emblematic of the exhibition is the large 72 x 60 inch canvas, Painter. This fantasized portrait takes its inspiration from the ancient sculpture, Winged Victory. The artist stands resolute in a landscape invented by imagination, armed only with palette and brush, her painter’s apron reminiscent of Nike’s toga. The ever-present dog, a recurrent theme in Jacoby’s work is always at her side. In the distance and across the waterway is the drawn shape of a house and in the foreground, a scallop shell, an emblem of the Spanish El Camino pilgrimage, a fitting symbol of the artist’s journey.
These new works by Jacoby represent a leap in the artist’s painterly powers. Flecks of color inhabit the canvases in rhythmic patterns that permeate both the background and the central action of the painting, creating a unified field of energy - a tone that further informs the content of the work. She is able to integrate the figures with their environment by the use of carefully modulated strokes of pure color. In View I , for example, the seated child is both observer and an essential element of nature - not apart from it. In other works, sections of the canvas are sparse and purely abstract, giving an emphasis and heat to the primary action in the painting, whether it is the loving embrace in works like Jacket and Love, or the stark vulnerability and exposure to the elements in the enigmatic Memory.
These are paintings to spend some time with, allowing personal associations and memories to resonate with the elegant articulations on the canvas. Jacoby is excited about being in the studio and expanding new avenues of expression. A full ten years since her first one-person exhibition at Donna Seager Gallery in 2006, she has far from exhausted the possibilities she sees in painting, “I feel like I can see an open road ahead,” remarked the artist. “I have so much to explore.” She is immersed, as with the figures in her paintings Reflections I and II, making sense of the world around her and her place in it as an artist.