• Brian Jobe at Joan Grona Gallery

    Date posted: September 20, 2008 Author: jolanta
    As I walk into the Joan Grona Gallery, the unusual setting chosen by the artist immediately captivates me. A material such as vinyl is not commonly seen as the backdrop of a photograph. This unorthodox display sets the viewer up for the contradictions witnessed in the work itself. These large vinyl sign banners depict photographs of the artist’s site-specific works and help to connect the viewer with the overall theme of his installations. The contradiction lies between the vastly different worlds represented: the natural and the man-made. Through a rather long and—I would guess—tedious process, Brian Jobe transforms the natural landscape of the Texas hill countryside into a venue of human interaction. This task involves individually wrapping or inserting numerous amounts of zip ties onto or into an object naturally found within the environment. Image

    Holly Northup

    Image
    Courtesy of the artist.

    As I walk into the Joan Grona Gallery, the unusual setting chosen by the artist immediately captivates me. A material such as vinyl is not commonly seen as the backdrop of a photograph. This unorthodox display sets the viewer up for the contradictions witnessed in the work itself. These large vinyl sign banners depict photographs of the artist’s site-specific works and help to connect the viewer with the overall theme of his installations. The contradiction lies between the vastly different worlds represented: the natural and the man-made. Through a rather long and—I would guess—tedious process, Brian Jobe transforms the natural landscape of the Texas hill countryside into a venue of human interaction. This task involves individually wrapping or inserting numerous amounts of zip ties onto or into an object naturally found within the environment. By incorporating this man-made object into a natural one, he is able to both harmonize and disrupt the terrain with his intrusion. It seems as though he is able to create a balance between the congruous and incongruous adaptability of the zip tie and the object with which it interacts. In this image Brian wraps zip ties of similar color to a cow gate, echoing the structure and design of the object. By doing so, he is able to mask the obtrusive nature of the material within the landscape it violates.                            

    However, in other images the overt presence of unnatural objects is emphasized in an attempt to seize the viewer in an abrupt realization of the awkwardness of the intrusion. Through his use of strong color, such as bright green engulfing the dull grey post, he seems to make this imposition readily obvious. Though his zip ties often cover other unnatural objects found within this same organic world, a separate contradiction is produced in the purpose and unfamiliarity of the introduced material. Cattle gates and fence post, though man-made, have become accepted occurrences in the natural world. The barriers of this unrefined realm have become universally acknowledged for their ability to serve a commonplace human need. Here Jobe is taking his material out of its accustomed use and stretched the boundaries of its possibilities and established purposes. In an attempt to structure and systematically process an unruly and consistently changing realm, Jobe is further constricting and containing that which already cages nature. In choosing to depict site-specific works, he is altering his chosen space by redefining its functionality within the sphere that currently exists. If applied to a different area, the choice would no longer be the artist’s but would become an effect of its surrounding, therefore stripping the artist of control and allowing nature to redefine the material.                         

    His work, though almost sculptural in nature, gives dominance to the artificial interaction between that which is natural and that which is man-made. His installations create a heightened awareness of humanity’s effect on the natural world. These works further illuminate the growing consciousness of our society and how we view the relationship between humans and nature. Each shapes the other; one cannot survive without the other. After all, we are dependent upon the mercy of nature but our intrusiveness can be taken too far.

    Comments are closed.