June 14, 2017
1400 N. American St., Suite 105
Fjord Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition Jump Cut, featuring work by Tony Bragg, Lyla Duey, Jacob Feige, Sarah Kaufman, Erin Murray, Tim Portock, Paul Rouphail, and Justin Webb. In their inventive representations of domestic, architectural, and landscape subjects, the eight image-makers on display employ direct observation and degrees of speculative manipulation in the creation of paintings, drawings, photographs, and digital renderings. They address perceptual mechanics with shared penchants for stillness, ambiance, and unresolved narrative. The artists here are particularly attentive to the capacity of the camera, computer, pencil, and brush to render illusory light, resulting in a collection of work that rewards slow looking and elicits cinematic resonance.
“Jump Cut” refers to a film technique in which the camera makes an abrupt leap from one scene to the next, apt for describing the experience of moving through an exhibition characterized by collisions of scenographic and flat space, interior and exterior environments, night and day, and adopted cinematic conventions from long shots to close-ups.
Tim Portlock creates large format digital prints, built from his own photographs, in computer game rendering software representing desolate, near-future landscapes that allude to the 19th-century American landscape painting of the Hudson River School and the cinematic device of the extreme long shot or establishing shot.
Sarah Kaufman’s photographs and Justin Webb’s paintings suggest stage sets on which multiple characters are acting, akin to full shots used by filmmakers. Kaufman observes the Wissahickon Creek in Northwest Philadelphia each summer through the lens of her medium-format film camera. Devil’s Pool serves as the stage for the theatrics of warm-weather leisure in her moody digital prints made from scanned negatives. Her photographs dually offer documentary record of a specific place and conjure associations with the art historical bathers motif. Webb uses the architectural rendering program Google SketchUp to create artificial interior environments inhabited by still life props. Dry, clear light animates the suggestive objects in these compositions, recorded by Webb in intimately-scaled paintings.
Jacob Feige’s and Paul Rouphail’s paintings and Tony Bragg’s drawings populate the gallery with medium shots of windows and portraits. Pockets of idiosyncratic abstraction puncture pictorial space in Feige’s observational paintings of domestic subjects, which are part of a series he calls, “Cutaways.” Rouphail’s tightly painted window-wall tableaus cite the American tromp-l’oeil tradition, and, like Portock, 19th-century American landscape painting—imbued with the surrealism of painters like Giorgio de Chirico and René Magritte. Bragg’s recent drawings depict imagined archetypal explorers, pilgrims, and colonists. In the context of this show, one might envision them wandering the worlds recorded by Portlock or Kaufman.
Frame is eclipsed by subject in the close-up shots presented by Erin Murray and Lyla Duey. Both artists produce images from tightly cropped studio setups. Murray describes her recent drawings as attempts to make images that represent icon and environment simultaneously, while Duey, like Rouphail, paints enigmatic tromp-l’oeil paintings of domestic textures, warmly lit and hauntingly vacant.
The works on display require time, not to resolve their narratives, but to let them simmer. Like an unfolding film, the images presented here drop the viewer into immersive visual worlds, left to surmise their sequential implications. These works prompt the viewer to negotiate shifts in scale and subject from one cut to the next while traversing space through the artists’ deft handling of color, light, and pictorial drama.
- David Aipperspach, 2017