Jacob Kassay – Painter, Sculptor and Filmmaker

Published: 2021-06-29 01:54:51
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Category: Culture

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Jacob Kassay is a painter, sculptor, and filmmaker, born in Lewistown, NY. He is currently living and working in Los Angeles, CA. He received a BFA in photography in 2005 from The State University of New York, Buffalo. Kassay has had numerous solo exhibitions, including the MoMA PS1 in New York and the ICA in London, UK. One of his most important work is the “Untitled, 2010”, displayed in the ‘Art: Concept exhibition’ in Paris from February 23rd to April 6th 2013. The artwork was placed on 36 x 48-inch silver canvas during its exhibitions.
The canvas was first coated with a layer of gesso and then turned over to a specialist who carried on an electroplating process before a thin layer of silver was applied. This is a process similar to how mirrors are normally made. This particular piece is considered a hybrid because the artist chose to use silver in distorting the reflection of its surroundings, which is contradictory to the actual functionality of a mirror. After the exhibitions had ended, the canvases were then destroyed and the stretcher bars recycled.
Works by Jacob Kassay are mostly considered experimental and abstract, including his piece “Untilled, 2010. ” He uses a mix of painting, sculpting and interactive installations as a deliberate response to space in different ways. Exhibition arrangements and how his pieces interact with the surrounding building and their audiences is key to understanding the principles behind his work. Kassay’s paintings are made to interact with, and form multiple dialogues amongst themselves. One can agree that they almost bring to life the space around them, showing the observer varying design experiences to the use of space.
For example, from a purely experience point of view, Jacob’s silver paintings allow the viewer to experience the difference between ‘absence’ and ‘presence’. This was achieved through the electroplating method earlier described, a method that has its roots in early photography. They are also similar to blurry mirrors that would reflect the world around them. For his paintings, the change and movement of colors across their surfaces change in the light, continuously modifying their appearances throughout the day.
The materials that Kassay uses are important because these would have the greatest effects on the form, surface and physicality of his works. Marks and scorched edges, which can be observed on his blank or monotone paintings could also be suggestive of their making processes. Jacob Kassay’s art also includes films and sculpture, which demonstrates other types of hybrid art: “In art forms, hybridity could mean the blurring of traditional distinct boundaries between artistic media such as painting, sculpture, film, performance, architecture, and dance.
It also can mean crossbreeding art making with other disciplines, such as natural and physical science, industry, technology, literature, popular culture, or philosophy. Hybrid art forms expand the possibilities for experimentation and innovation in contemporary art” This paper features one painting from Jacob kassay’s series, which demonstrates hybridity through the use of silver. By skillfully utilizing the reflective properties of a mirror, Kassay’s painting does not reflect objects in the conventional manner, but instead, the sliver touch to it helps distort the observable image.
So in essence, your reflection will be distorted, as well as the world around you. Also, the disassembly and destruction of the “untitled work” makes the piece a hybrid because, it is normal practice for most artists to sell or keep their work but Jacob Kassay destroys his in order to send a message to the viewers. Still in the same vein, the metallic objects reflect our bodies as dark, blurred-out shapes, turning us into pieces of art.
When we look at ourselves in a mirror we see imperfections and clarity but when we look at his art piece we are no longer clear and our bodies appear abstract. While observing the “Untitled, 2010” piece, self-image comes to mind because we often seek our imperfections by looking in a mirror. Jacob Kassay objective is to take away what appears to be a simple composition and abstract it using distortions. ‘Distortion’ is a term we often use to describe our imperfections; an example would be scars or freckles.
As you gaze into the artwork, you see a dark blurry figure of yourself and the reflections of lights balancing out behind you in the background. As a self-evaluation exercise, when you think about the piece being destroyed, you can draw significance to those negative thoughts being destroyed as well; and thus recycled into positive thoughts about yourself. In the same abstract evaluation, ‘blurriness’ now brings a sense of forming historic memory representations of the transformation exercise.
The artist is trying to say here that those ‘scars’ or ‘freckles’ should now be historic self-evaluations, representing a memory of how you used to evaluate yourself, thus the growth to the present ‘you’. Jacob Kassay’s art shows us that works, which do not seem to fit neatly into the classifications of traditional art, can have a larger impact on one’s self-worth. So, paintings that are filled with detailed strokes and dabs will not necessarily have more impact on one’s emotions.
It is commonplace to equate comprehensive paintings with gold frames as High culture and gallery-worthy pieces of art, but Jacob Kassay’s “Untitled, 2010”piece motivates the formulation of a different perspective by including the viewer to his art. By focusing more about the impact and positioning of his piece and less about the appearance, it brings you into his world and motivates you to think more about the message. He creates art that is influenced by people’s daily living, informing viewers to enjoy life’s offerings whiles it last.

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