JT: I grew up in Colorado near Boulder. Until I was aged 14 my dad was a pastor in Christian churches. The earlier church where he was assistant pastor was very much like the famous "Evangelical" churches that are featured in the documentary "Jesus Camp". There were miracles, spectacles, speaking in tongues, a pool for baptizing. Sometimes church members would line up around the stage and my dad would lay his hands on their heads and pray. When this had gone on long enough, the person would be knocked over by the power of God, falling into the waiting arms of deacons to lay on the floor crying from the experience. I was suspicious, so one time I got in the line. My dad put his hands on my head, I think my arms were in the air, and then I fell.
There I was, laying flat on my back asking myself if I had been knocked over by supernatural force or what? I went up knowing I was going to fall so was this a real thing? I had my doubts. Somehow I always felt like I was being tricked, and I still feel like that sometimes. Now I mostly feel like other people are being tricked and I'm not, but I catch myself back on the other side of that line occasionally. When my dad started his own church the theatrics were toned down a little, but the belief was notched up. No fakers. I think I could fill a book with the stories from my childhood and the lessons I learned from questioning my surroundings, this is just a teaser. My love for skateboarding and punk rock lead me to the Bay Area and I moved to LA to attend grad school at UCLA.
JT: I love LA. People are very free to express themselves here, and not just in a politically correct, socially accepted way. Anything goes. "Beto's" is my favorite food truck. It's on Jefferson near Burnside from 7:00-11:00pm and I highly recommend their tacos al pastor. The food is not sketchy.
JT: UCLA was really great. I pretty much stuck with the painting faculty, they offer a genuine painting program where you go into the studio and work. I think it's what people expect from MFA programs but rarely find. I was very inspired by Lari Pittman, Roger Herman, and Don Suggs and worked with them repeatedly. UCLA a real gem! The library is AMAZING!!! Because I was a grad student and UCLA is a research institution they let me check out as many books as I want and for like 2 months at a time. I still have a lot out even now! I'll have to return them soon though as I'm moving to NYC.
JT: I was still in school for the last show, and I had nothing to do except paint! It was so nice. There were paintings in that show that I really felt were good and others that I was suspicious of, in spite of the ample time I had to work. Now I have to work full-time to pay for my studio practice and bills and every moment I have to make art is precious. It gives me a different appreciation of the dedication I have to this conversation of art. I feel very privileged to make art with my spare time. It doesn't hurt that I enjoy my work at the wood shop very much as well. I'm glad to do both kinds of work.
Dried Bouquet Hanging, 120 x 84 inches. Oil on canvas, 2010
JT: I think most of the process of drawing and painting is "pragmatic and straightforward and has a clear endpoint." But when you get to those "endpoints" you look at what you have and ask questions about it and the "endpoints" turn out to be milestones. You say "yea" or "nay" or "so be it," and set out for a new "endpoint" over and over. You learn what you can along the way, learn to be open to experiences and judge false confidence, and artwork is the product of this journey and you are a product of your artistic practice. It's a process of self direction and self examination that allows you to live independently.
JT: The way I cared for her is similar to the way I care for my work. Like it's a living thing that's independent and takes care of itself except when it doesn't. And my life is still very much a part of my drawings and paintings in a narrative way. Death is also a part of it. That comes through in the mood and quality of my work. I wouldn't expect anyone to be able to translate my life story from looking at my artwork, but hopefully be able to relate to the images with their own experiences.
Flight 2, 12 x 8 inches. Graphite on gessoed paper, 2011
JT: I'm able to approach abstraction in a more honest way than I ever have before. There's something about the free way ideas flick off the tip of a pencil. Whenever I've tried doing abstract images in the past I feel like I have to really force it, with the armature of a representational image I have the freedom to wander in the direction of abstraction. The image is independent of the rules that apply to things in the real world and that makes working on them an adventure. Now I can also do abstraction that wanders in the direction of representation. It works in a similar way. Every one is an independent adventure that is related to my experiences in the real world which is also a crazy adventure.
Outer Space Series 2, 12 x 8 inches. Gouache, graphite on gessoed paper, 2011
JT: In all genres there is interesting, thought provoking work and junk. Mostly junk I'm afraid, but as I work in relationship to the stuff that inspires me and the junk I find myself learning to appreciate things that I have previously dismissed and sometimes dismissing things I used to find inspiring. I think that may be the point of it all.
Small Meeting, 16 x 18 inches. Graphite on gessoed canvas, 2010
Still Life with Ancient Technique, 14 x 14 inches. Oil on canvas, 2010
Untitled Machine Drawing, 12 x 8 inches. Graphite on gessoed paper, 2011
Untitled Machine Drawing 2, 12 x 8 inches. Graphite on gessoed paper, 2011
Mark Wolfe Contemporary Art is pleased to present By Extension, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by gallery favorite Jacob Tillman in his second solo outing.
In this new body of work, Tillman further develops his idiosyncratic interpretation of time and space, exploring the relationship between exterior spaces, interior planes, and the dimensionality of the objects within. Gravity takes on a subtly mercurial quality, allowing objects to shift, hover, and realign in a way that seems self-considered. Simultaneously, individual claims to the third dimension become lost, with features abstracting into patterns, and visual rhythms emerging from dynamics of texture, surface, substance, air, and light. The works challenge, puzzle, and always compel.
Tillman received his MFA in painting from UCLA in 2010. In addition to shows at Wolfe Contemporary, he has exhibited in Los Angeles, Prague, Salzburg, and Rome, and has completed residencies at J.B. Blunk (Inverness, CA) and Galleria Studio Legale (Rome).
Showing in the Gallery Ell will be paintings by Sarah Thibault, a recent MFA graduate from the California College of the Arts. Thibault’s paintings of the interiors of antique shops breathe life into the sculptures, vases, and chandeliers within. Through texture, color and light, a spectral quality is imbued which invites contemplation of their storied pasts and uncertain futures.
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