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Visiting Artist Patrick Jacobs

Patrick Jacobs was born in California. He intentionally blurs boundaries between the traditional artistic media of painting, sculpture, and photography in his works. At the same time his dioramas, viewed through glass lenses, present the viewer with a spatial and perceptual conundrum; we are drawn into a space at once determinate and infinite, natural and contrived, prosaic and otherworldly.

Jacobs draws inspiration from sources as diverse as historical landscape painting and contemporary chemical companies’ home and garden pest control brochures, such as Chevron’s Ortho Books. Recalling the Claude glass, an optical device popular in the 18th century used to frame the picturesque, the lenses invoke the invisible eye of the wary homeowner searching an otherwise vacant domestic landscape for imagined interlopers. Ortho, Greek for “correct,” further alludes to the unending quest to control any divergence from the norm, as well as the manipulation of our sense of perspective. With such a fusion of influences, these quiet compositions offer a magical view of the mundane. Here, reality has been de-familiarized, and the uncanny has supplanted the commonplace.

Each work consists of a meticulously constructed, three-dimensional diorama installed within the wall and viewed through a circular window of glass lenses. The combination of the negative focal length of the lenses and sculptural foreshortening creates the illusion of seemingly infinite depth within the limitations of a shallow space. The result is a distorted reality corrected only when seen through the lenses. Though artificial, these worlds are nevertheless strangely real and tactile.

To join the artist lecture via Zoom link, please click here