In his current exhibition entitled Nature of Things at the Barbara Krakow Gallery, artist Jeff Perrott moves beyond Christian scriptures that inspired some of his earlier pieces, offering us reflections on the human condition, the concept of death, and the process of making art. Perrott lets go of his past, once ruled by self-imposed limitations, and incorporates concepts from Dada-inspired readymades and reflective mortality. In essence, what we receive is a kind of spiritual conceptualism. By incorporating elements of chance that arise, he frees himself to enrich the palette of his medium beyond his imagination.
Vanitas, 2005, is composed of 48 silkscreens on acrylic mirrors, each decorated with a two-toned pattern of thin vertical lines. The installation reflects our temporary nature as mortal beings and the natural process of continual transformation. Although these mirrors may be arranged within the 8 x 6 format according to the collector’s preference, the work – like a lake reflecting the sun on a November afternoon with vibrant fall colors from surrounding trees and a blue sky filled with moving white clouds – it ultimately reflects that which stands before it. Torso, 2005, an anatomical drawing of a human skeletal structure recorded on Plexiglas, mirrors the final physical form of all human beings post death and decomposition. Souvenir, 2005, a cast dental impression of the artist’s teeth, sits upon a pedestal as an altered readymade. Unlike Jasper Johns’ Painted Bronze (Ale Cans), 1960, a humorous bronze sculpture of two Ballantine Ale beer cans once consumed by the artist, Perrott’s offering has a serious tone. Like human ashes, this work reflects the truth of mortality.
Fenway Nine and Wall Covering, works inspired by the artist’s day job at Fenway Park, incorporate the form of score-board numbers. Like James Rosenquist, who painted billboard advertisements by day, bringing fragments of his job into his paintings, in Spaghetti-O orange Perrott brings a part of Fenway Park into his works. Unlike the Pop painter who payed tribute to American advertisements, Perrot leaves consumer culture at the field. Fenway Nine, 2005, executed in charcoal, graphite and china marker on paper, shows the artist’s personal touch through black expressive marks that fill the outline of the number nine. On the walls of the gallery’s reception desk area, an installation of free-flowing numbers (composed of four foot squares printed on vinyl) makes an alluring composition with the numbers 0 – 9. Placed in varied directions and repeated, tones of yellow, brown and red predominate, accented by sky blue and pea green. Opposing the idea of a logical sequence of numbers or a resolution defined by a numerical formula, this work expresses the freedom in not knowing. As a site-specific installation, the possibilities of size are open, yet the composition of numbers remains free from the world of calculation.
Gone, a DVD movie (14 minutes and 20 seconds running) with footage taken by the artist driving between Boston and New York City (where he divides his time), records moments in time – edited and woven into a running composition of abstracted colors, multiple forms of natural light, and varied objects.
As life presents him with new possibilities for growth and change, Jeff Perrott continues to find a new richness within a personalized form of spiritual conceptualism.
Barbara Krakow Gallery
“Jeff Perrott: Nature of Things” is on view October 22, 2005 – December 7, 2005 at Barbara Krakow Gallery.
All images are courtesy of the artist and Barbara Krakow Gallery.