Pontone Gallery is proud to present two new projects by Jeff Robb: ‘Mary’s Room’, a light installation, and a new series of ‘lenticular’ portraits.
British born, Jeff Robb graduated with an MA in fine art from the Royal College of Art in 1992. Specialising in three-dimensional image making, he has had a successful career exhibiting his work in prestigious galleries. This prizewinning artist is represented in many international private and museum collections.
He is particularly known for his lenticular photographs of the body caught in motion. This complex and sophisticated process results in images of dramatic and romantic affect, where models are perceived three dimensionally and appear to be floating in, what the artist describes as, ‘liminal states’.
The new portraits emphasise the expressive nature of the subjects’ hands, almost as important a clue to identity as the face, which is turned away, or partially hidden. This subtle and allusive approach to the portrait brings intimacy rather than detachment. The shifting, smoky tonal range of the lenticular photograph articulates the almost tangible chiaroscuro forms of the head, hair and limbs. The entwined and twisted arms and hands echo the baroque poses of Bernini-like heroines to produce images of hypnotic engagement.
‘Mary’s Room’ is his response to the thought experiment by philosopher Frank Jackson, who poses the question ‘is there knowledge that can only be acquired by experience?’. That is, a subject may have all the facts at their disposal, but actually undergoing an experience brings additional, transcendent qualities. Mary knows all the facts about colour, but has only lived in a room without it. If she experiences colour in actuality, will her perception and insight be different? This extra, subjective knowledge is described as ‘Qualia’, a property unique and discrete to the subject. This piece seeks to evoke and explore this idea. The installation is made of three-dimensional objects, themselves made of material that gives the illusion of a three dimensional surface on a flat plane. Additionally a composition by the artist triggers internal lighting of shifting hues, representing Mary’s experience.
Jeff Robb continues to investigate, and experiment with, the limits and possibilities of his chosen media. The technical accomplishment of his work is complemented by its expressive and conceptual sophistication; the artist’s manipulations of light are, in turn, illuminating.