Robert Jack, "Anatomy of the Eye," 2011, installation view, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York

Robert Jack, "Anatomy of the Eye," 2011, installation view, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York

A Sense of Direction, 2010, casein on wood, 5 panels, 19.75 x 98.75 inches

Contained Germination Cycle, 2009, casein on wood, 11.75 x 23.6 inches

Prey and Predator, 2010, casein on wood, 31.6 x 48 inches

One Influence Instigated Irrevocable Change, 2009, casein on wood, 19.75 x 19.75 inches

Robert Jack

Anatomy of the Eye

January 13 – February 12, 2011


The gallery is pleased to present “Anatomy of the Eye”, Robert Jackʼs fifth solo exhibition in New York. Robert Jackʼs work is based on microbiological systems and processes, making visible essential aspects of life that are overlooked due to their imperceptible scale. The exhibition consists of two bodies of work: a group of seven new paintings based on the way the eye perceives reality in different species, and a collection of intimate scale drawings.

Replication, mutation, and other evolutionary processes have been the main source for his drawings and paintings. In this new body of work, the artist captures, amplifies, and illuminates, the way the brain sorts, filters, and organizes the information sent by the eye. The forms in the paintings refer to cones and rods, the individual optical receptors which together transmit visual data. Robert Jack manipulates and interprets the anatomy of the eye from felines, to bees, to humans, to create imaginary landscapes of restrained color and form. He invents epic, sometimes psychedelic under-the- microscope scenarios, encapsulating intimate rhythms and hazardous colors.
Dropout Amplifier is based on vision in the human eye in low light conditions- where colors drop out, and contrasts dominate. The piece is composed of 25 square panels arranged in a random 5 x 5 grid. The shapes are made of a series of small, broken elements that resists the brainʼs attempt to create form. Each fragment is outlined with a different but similar grey, further blurring the definition of the whole by distorting the brainʼs attempt to decipher the painting.
In A Sense of Direction, based on polarized vision in bees (who orient themselves in relation to the sun), a scattered background of light and focused arcs offers a balanced orientation for navigating through the world. In the same way, Prey and Predator, through a long horizontal structure, translates the vision experienced by felines whose retina focuses along a linear horizon, the result of years of evolution in savannas.
Other paintings portray the systems of transmission themselves. Lateral pathways are laid out in stacked layers like roads conveying continual streams of chemical stimulus from eye to brain. Also An Action, for instance, is a painting that functions as a snapshot of information in different states of transmission. In Remnant Production Patches, the shapes converge into a series of transmitters sliced through in cross section. Hollow tubes, seen head on, awaiting the reception of chemicals to affect how the brain interprets the world.
80 small-scale drawings made over the past three years occupy one wall. A journey through Robert Jackʼs investigation into mark making, the drawings documents crucial and slight variations of structures, possible abysses and nearly imperceptible gaps. They accumulate signals, color vibrations, and variations impossible to detect without an extraordinary level of attention.
Robert Jack was born in 1971 in New Haven, Connecticut. He received his BS in Landscape Architecture from The City College of New York in 1994. His work has been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions in the United States as well as in Japan and Spain. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Recent one person exhibitions include: The Lower Tiers, Galleria Paola Verrengia, Salerno, Italy (2008); Before and Aftermath, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York, NY (2008); Elements of Histories, Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco, CA (2007). Recent group exhibitions include: Drawn Twice, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY (2006); Systems Now: a survey of recent systematic art, Elvehjem Museum of Art (now Chazen Museum of Art), Madison, WI (2005).