Colter Jacobsen
Exhibition dates: September 7 - October 14, 2018
Opening reception: Friday, September 7th, 6–8pm

Press Release


“It dissipates faster than our eyes can record…”

- from “Notes to J.A.,” Tim Dlugos

I'd like to consider the power of smallness and the informal, the peripheral, the unfinished. Subtle like the 'b' in subtle. 

In this exhibition, one of the key themes is the interactions among media and disciplines. Collisions across media — watercolor, graphite and paint on found paper — are mirrored in resonances across disciplines: the meeting points of art, poetry, music. 

I'm employing several methods I've used in the past, such as drawings made with a one-hour time limit and drawings from memory in which I first make a copy drawing of a found image and then draw the image a second time from memory. The two drawings are displayed side by side. There are new approaches too, that have to do with the deterioration of representation or representation abstracted. For example, a watercolor inspired by an experience of seeing a film by Nathaniel Dorsky: as I was watching a scene in which a picture of Buddha hangs from a line of string and gently moves in a breeze, the film suddenly began to melt. I heard Nathaniel Dorsky, who happened to be sitting behind me, gasp in alarm. The markings on the surface of the paper, like the melting film, seem to break from representation into abstraction, suspended between stills. 

Some works ask us to consider attention itself. The ground we walk on, every step, the trees we walk past every day. How can we be more considerate of our surroundings? What might we want to see change in the world? In what ways are we connected to the rest of the world whether we like it or not? What is the now and how to live in it? 

With only the instructions, "to play for the trees outside the window of the gallery," I asked the gallery director and flute player, Photi, to make a recording of the song “Nature Boy,” written by Eden Ahbez and made famous by Nat King Cole. I had the recording slowed to a speed that the tree might perceive.

In his book The Forest Unseen, David George Haskell chooses a square meter to sit with for a year. I sat with a square foot of ground in Ukiah, California. In a drawing of the ground, what is the figure? Every leaf, every twig entered this picture from someplace else and reflects its surrounding in a complex web of space and time. Though based on months of close observation, my drawing ended up being mostly fantasy. Yet it very naturalistically captures the ways in which that small plot of land exceeded my capacities of perception and comprehension. 

Sometimes I do a similar thing with paper, gathering in and magnifying my perceptions of minute variations in the weave of pulp that forms the surface. My intuition and an immediate response to the physicality of the paper dictate the marks. This could be a way of being in the world, or being of it. 

Special thanks to the two Japanese Pagoda trees, Matteah Baim for sound engineering, and Photi Giovanis for his woodwind contributions.

— CJ

Colter Jacobsen (b. 1975) is an artist who lives in San Francisco, California. Solo exhibitions include “This Is How We Walk On The Moon: Colter Jacobsen,” Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego La Jolla, California (2014); “Searchin’ vs. Buildin’,” LAXART, Los Angeles (2010); “The Exhibition Formerly Known as Passengers,” CCA Wattis Institute, California College of Arts, San Francisco (2009), as well as exhibitions at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York and Corvi Mora in London, among other galleries. Group exhibitions include "A Slow Succession with Many Interruptions” (2016–17); “2010 SECA Art Award” (2011); and “The Air We Breathe” (2011), all at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, California. Additional group exhibitions include those at Contemporary Art Detroit, Michigan (2014); Alley Cat Books Gallery, San Francisco (2014, 2013); and the 12th Istanbul Biennial (2011).

For further information, please contact Photi Giovanis, or 212 219 0326. 

Callicoon Fine Arts is located at 49 Delancey Street between Forsyth and Eldridge Streets. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10:30am to 6:30pm, as of September 7th; summer hours are Tuesday to Saturday, by appointment. The nearest subway stops are the B and D trains at Grand Street and the F, J, M and Z trains at Delancey-Essex Street.