NEW YORK, NY.- Freight+Volume
and Arts+Leisure present Life is Fine, an exhibition of new paintings by Brooklyn-based artist Samuel Jablon. This marks Jablons second exhibition at Freight+Volume and his first at Arts+Leisure.
Jablon is at once a poet, painter and performance artist; a hybrid. His paintings are vibrant renderings of words abstracted, a kind of visual manifestation of poetry. He appropriates found language -- overheard words and familiar phrases, lines of poetry and offhand comments -- and transmutes them into compositions. Language disintegrates into letters, which dissolve into line, shape and color.
While, at first glance, the paintings textual content often appears legible, this effect reveals itself to be a deception. The paintings demand close consideration and a highly specific mode of looking, one that is neither quite reading nor seeing. As Jablon works, meanings and content metamorphose, other words appear, and differing combinations of layered paint, broken structures, mirrors and pieces of glass confound the possibility of a clean read. Language, in this body of work, appears in a new, deeply transformed lightone that shifts with the viewers experience and perception of the words.
This new body of work represents a notable shift in Jablons aesthetic. While much of his earlier work was exuberant, viscerally immediate in its allure, each letter in a string painted brightly in a different shade, the paintings in Life is Fine, by contrast, employ a subdued palette. The new paintings employ this austerity to reflect their emotional complexity. Furthermore, their coloristic asceticism showcases Jablons fervently unorthodox approach to material, bringing his delicate treatment of weight, depth, texture and balance to the fore.
The title, Life is Fine, is borrowed from a poem by Langston Hughes. Like the poem, the paintings navigate a messy, ambiguous line that separates the positive and negative experiences of life. Jablon includes the phrase "what a beautiful time" in a number of paintings, and its repetition becomes a type of mantra, as if one must convince oneself that life is indeed fine.
A catalogue accompanies the exhibition with texts by, Nick Lawrence, Sam Lipsyte, and Todd von Ammon; a poem by Yuko Otomo; and an interview between the artist and Mike Cloud.
Samuel Jablon (b. 1986, Binghamton, NY) has been featured in such publications as Interview Magazine; The Wall Street Journal; BOMB Magazine; Art in America; ARTnews; Hyperallergic; The Brooklyn Rail; ELLE Mexico among others. His projects, readings, performances and exhibitions have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Socrates Sculpture Park; The Queens Museum; Storefront for Art and Architecture; Smack Mellon; The DUMBO Arts Festival; The 8th Floor (Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation); Art In Odd Places; and Idea City at The New Museum. He earned an MFA from Brooklyn College, Brooklyn NY, and a BA from Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado.