Devorah Jacoby’s exhibition, “She,” will be shown at the Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, CA, October 1 to October 30, 2019. There will be a reception for the artist on Saturday, October 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm open to the public. A full color catalog of the exhibition will be available through the gallery. The gallery is at 108 Throckmorton Avenue in Mill Valley. Hours: 11 to 5, Tuesday – Saturday, 12 to 5 on Sunday.
Devorah Jacoby has an uncanny ability to conjure up pure emotional and psychological states in her paintings with a masterful use of paint stroke, color and composition. In “She,” her first exhibition in three years, she has put together powerhouse works that entice, challenge, delight and engage.
“My paintings are about life’s complexity,” says the artist. “Life is incredibly beautiful, lush, joyous, heartbreaking, messy and enraging. When I am painting, I express all of that; it’s a release, it’s freeing.” The last three years for Jacoby have been an incubation period in which she has further fine-tuned her sophisticated means of expression, loosening up her painting style, becoming more and more abstract and navigating human experience. Always provocative, her paintings are both dark and light with a fearlessness that has attracted us to her work since her first exhibition in 2006.
Encapsulating all of that is the painting Cascade. It is large, 60 x 72” and is of a deep woods, dark, foreboding, welcoming and beautiful all at the same time. It is only when you look closer that you see against the black vertical of an abstracted tree, a couple, very small in scale. They are articulated so clearly but with a bare minimum of information. The boundaries are blurred. The couple are a part of each other and a part of everything around them. They are in it together.
In the painting, “Fire,” inspired by the California wildfires, a woman looks out on her burning home. She has lost everything. The expression on her face says it all. “This is a rare figurative work,” says artist and teacher Chester Arnold, “It seethes with feeling and represents an emotional fusion of the subject and its painter.”
Jacoby skews perspective and purposefully aims at the unexpected. In the painting Butterfly, a female figure stands in a field her arms full of luscious fruit, apples bananas and oranges. Her right arm has virtually disappeared and an apple is suspended in space on her left side and there is one on her head. She is a modern Mother Nature embracing but not able to hold on to all of life’s plenty.
In Dandelion, patches of color and loose brushstrokes define the face and hair of her subject but the eyes are carefully articulated, capturing someone in deep reflection, perhaps about impermanence and regrowth as symbolized by the dandelion pappus.
There is a physicality in many of Jacoby’s paintings, as in Daydream where the female figure has nearly dissolved into her surroundings merging with the ground and the sky around it and in the quirky and charming Green Couch an expression of the joy of being a small being on a big and inviting sofa all dressed up.
Asked for her inspirations, Jacoby refers to Lucian Freud, Marlene Dumas, Jenny Seville and the Bay Area Figurative school. She is excited about the power of abstraction, pure color and brushstroke to magnify and define the emotional content of a work. She refers to a quote by Hans Hoffman, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”