Friday, May 22, 2015

News as Art

“My collages are social landscapes, theaters of form and gestures of symbolism.”
Peter Jacobs

Every day the American artist Peter Jacobs sits down at his kitchen table with a cup of coffee and the New York Times, but instead of a piece of toast to complete this morning ritual, Jacobs opening trifecta is completed with a X-Acto knife and a glue stick. Over the next two hours, Jacobs will slice and dice The Grey Lady to create a colorful collage that re-contextualizes the day’s news into a personalized image that reflects the edition’s mix of truth and advertising.

As Jacobs’ wrote in the Strathmore Artist Papers “I abstract small truths and intuitively build visual rhythms that imbue surreal narratives that say a lot about who I am and the world we live in.”

Jacobs’ created the first of these particular collages on the 31st of March 2005 and has made one every day since with no foreseeable end date in sight. As he writes “The Collage Journal has become integrated in my daily life as a meditation, contemplation and re-evaluation of culture and identity.”
His interest in collage predates his commencement of the Journal by some 20 plus years to when he was studying for his BFA in photography at Purchase College and wanted a more hands on experience. As he has written “I loved to walk aimlessly in the city and record my responses and perceptions. This art of seeing and capturing I embraced, but the processing and printing became a labor and I wanted to have greater hands-on engagement in the process of my art. Having studied color theory and figure ground, collage was natural visual language for me. My work was constructivist at heart and remains so to this day.”

Although Jacobs has produced and exhibited other collage works the constant discipline of the Journal has seen it evolve from commenting on elements of the news to a "more painterly and formal" presentation. As he told the Montclair Times “You don't realize you're looking at newspaper clippings."

A subject Jacobs expands upon in the publicity for his current Huntington Art Museum exhibition, equating his work to “a puzzle (in which) I try to create a different ending to each time.  When I start each collage, I have no idea where I’m going to end up. . . That, to me, means I’m never compromising.”

To which he added No one knows what the future will bring, but I will continue to bring a new work into each day as long as the New York Times delivers newspapers.” 

His current exhibition Peter Jacobs: The Collage Journal -- The First Decade is on show at New Jersey’s Huntington Art Museum until the 6th of September.

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