Cubes for Albers and LeWitt

Jessica Eaton

DLK Collection


JTF (just the facts): A total of 11 color photographs, framed in black and unmatted, and hung in the small single room gallery space and the adjacent viewing alcove. All of the works are archival pigment prints, made in 2010 or 2011. The images have been printed in one of two sizes: 40×32 (in editions of 3) or 20×16 (in editions of 5); there are 5 in the large size and 6 in the small size on view. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: Jessica Eaton’s layered, experimental geometries and additive color studies delve into the deep artistic traditions of the elemental cube and square, using complex photographic techniques to echo and reinterpret visual motifs from the masters of minimalist/abstract painting and sculpture. Her works reconsider nested Albers squares and stacked LeWitt cubes using the tools of multiple exposure photography, generating compositions with new degrees of aesthetic freedom.

Using simple painted cubes of different sizes and an array of primary colored filters, Eaton is able to mix and match to create interlocking planes and transparent stratifications, pushing from obvious recreations and homages to more chaotic sets of angles and colors. The best of the images explore theoretical boundaries, where three dimensionality and flatness intersect in unexpected ways, sometimes producing a blurred optical buzzing that shimmers and shifts.

While Ion Zupcu has explored some of the same visual territory (albeit in a monochrome palette), I think Eaton’s successes are found her ability to extend the abstractions beyond a simple series of cubes, to let the ghosted forms intermingle and unravel a bit, and where the color theory gets more complicated and contradictory. While there is certainly technical mastery evident in her photographic recreation of an Albers, I was most excited to see Eaton’s original point of view come through more clearly in the highly splintered and deconstructed forms.

Collector’s POV: The prints in this show have ratcheting prices, based on the place in the edition. The 40×32 prints range from $3500 to $5500, while the 20×16 prints range from $2500 to $3500. Eaton’s work has not yet made it to the secondary markets in any meaningful manner, so gallery retail is likely the only option for interested collectors at this point.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)