Jack Pierson

Billede 1

Bortolami is proud to present Go there now and take this with you, a show of Jack Pierson’s folded photographs.

While Pierson is best known for his wall sculptures, he has been working as a photographer since he was in art school in the 1980’s. He later expanded his practice to both sculpture and word pieces. The themes of his art are investigated through all mediums, but perhaps they are most directly addressed in his photography due to the concrete representation afforded by the imagery. Pierson’s choices of subject matter seem sprawling, but they are linked by beauty and a thread of passing drama, sexual tension, and ephemeral glamour.

Pierson has always struggled with the needs of photography as a medium.  Framing, mounting and glass, separate the observer from the work itself, making the photograph a cumbersome object.  The photos presented in this show challenge the need for protection and hang directly on the wall, exposed to the viewer much like the word pieces. Each work is printed on photo paper and folded suggesting that the works are portable. One can take the picture with them in an envelope, or send it to a friend, for hanging and re-hanging in new settings.  The picture is intended to age and evolve rather than remain a static print behind glass and a frame.

Jack Pierson was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1960 and attended the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. He lives and works in New York and Southern California. Pierson has had solo exhibitions at El Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga, Spain; The Irish Museum of Art, Dublin, Ireland; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, Florida and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Illinois.


Jack Pierson.

Cheim & Read is pleased to announce an exhibition of abstract sculpture by multi-media artist Jack Pierson. Pierson’s last exhibition with the gallery was in 2006. Most recently, his show, “Abstracts,” was on view at Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga, from June 19 to September 27, 2009.

Jack Pierson was born in 1960 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 1984. He works in several different mediums, including photography, video and sculpture, and is well-known for his re-appropriation of commercial signage and large-scale vintage lettering, with which he creates evocative word-sculptures and installations. For this exhibition at Cheim & Read, Pierson presents recent sculptural abstractions using his trademark signage materials. He repositions letters and other signage details – broken pieces, numbers and symbols – so that narrative is no longer recognizable. By removing the hierarchy of language, and therefore its immediate associations, Pierson strives for universality – the sculptures do not rely on words to communicate, instead provoking a more visceral reaction.

Pierson’s work has long embodied sensations of nostalgia and melancholia, memory and loss. The distinctly American nature of the signage he uses references road-side ephemera and American cultural symbolism, and is imbued with poignancy and disillusionment. His work is also inherently autobiographical, balanced by a sly sense of irony and humor, which allows the viewer to identify with his imagery. In his sculptural abstractions, the emotional sensibility of Pierson’s style remains, but his themes are less explicit. The work is intentionally non-objective and non-literal – a given word might still exist in a pile or hang reconfigured on the wall, but its signification is diffused. While Pierson’s abstractions are inevitably related to his “readable” word-sculptures, they attempt to move beyond a singular interpretation. He questions the construction of meaning by deconstructing the viewer’s search for it.

The formal beauty of Pierson’s abstractions is evident. Some are calligraphic, some brightly colored; some reference Minimalism, while others seem to descend from Pop. Many resemble totems, or astronomical constellations. The repositioning, re-contextualizing and recycling of Pierson’s source material resets the viewer’s expectations. While letters and symbols are identifiable, the composition as a whole requires a different reading, a suspension of assumption in exchange for possibility. As Pierson states: “Some are abstractions, some calligraphic, and some are cantations. The subject…is the same as the subject of all my work: hope.”