March 12 - April 25, 2015
Elegant silhouettes, sculpted in burlap, cascade towards the ‘floor’ of a thick wood frame. Not quite damsels in distress, they seem to hover in an ebony sea - black plastic cement worked with a palette knife to form jagged edges, uneven surfaces.
Though James Jarvaise’s imagery remains abstract, the titles (The Actor, Pas de Duex, Demoiselles #5) suggest a narrative derived from human interaction. The weight of flesh is everywhere in this body of work echoing even earlier work but spanning the last fifteen years of the artist’s career.
Jarvaise, now based in Santa Barbara, made a name for himself in the Los Angeles gallery scene of the 1950s and 60s. For the better part of a decade, he showed successfully with the renowned LA dealer Felix Landau. In 1959, Jarvaise was included in the Museum of Modern Art’s 16 Americans, the legendary series of exhibitions announcing the best and brightest US art makers not yet famous. Despite the East Coast accolades, Jarvaise returned to the West Coast and continued making art, teaching art and, most poignantly, building a family.
Though his exodus from Los Angeles resulted in a significant reduction in opportunities to exhibit, the artist stayed true to his vocation. In a studio he built himself, he has followed his muse and never flinched, no matter the tale or the cost.