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Author Topic: The Relentless Jessica Eaton  (Read 5860 times)

D Fuller

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The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« on: January 18, 2019, 07:19:14 am »

What a fascinating body of work! In my college days, the chair of out colleges art department had been a student of Josef Albers, ant talked in some depth about his color theory. This work brings me back to that. Itís interesting to imagine the process of lighting and filtration that produces these images, and to think about how (if at all) that might be relevant in my own work. But even aside from that, itís such interesting work in its own right. The color presentation and proportion are wonderful.

If I could ask for more, it would be a bit deeper glimpse into the process of light and filtration that she uses. Perhaps she was not willing to share that, but while I can make some guesses based on the things I see lying around the studio, it would have been nice for the interview to have gotten a bit more into the Specifics of her process.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2019, 08:33:42 am »

Good stuff.

OmerV

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2019, 08:43:26 am »

I read the article but now in viewing the images again, I'm trying to get past the technical aspect. It would be unfortunate if the meaningfulness of the pictures is dependent on knowing the degree of difficulty in the making of them.

D Fuller

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2019, 08:55:19 am »

I read the article but now in viewing the images again, I'm trying to get past the technical aspect. It would be unfortunate if the meaningfulness of the pictures is dependent on knowing the degree of difficulty in the making of them.

I donít believe this is the case at all. The composition and color design are exquisite in their own rights.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2019, 09:02:29 am »

... It would be unfortunate if the meaningfulness of the pictures is dependent on knowing the degree of difficulty in the making of them.

More like degree of uniqueness, I think. Anything that makes a piece of art more unique makes it (perceived as) more valuable.

Anything she does can now be recreated in 5 min in Photoshop. But that is not the point. You can buy a Mona Lisa on a chocolate box, but it want make it as valuable as the original, unique thing.

So, yes, we would like to think that pictures should stand on their own, without explanation, but as with all generalizations, this one is also false.

John R

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2019, 09:04:35 am »

Wow! Really good work and, I am guessing, excellent craftsmanship, since she does make analog prints and exhibits them to some acclaim. But I must also commend the author of this excellent article. A sort of combination of brief explanations and letting the work and author speak for themselves. Would love to one day see this work in person. You are subtly drawn in by some harmonious colours, then your eye gets hit by contrasting colour. Awesome work!

JR
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D Fuller

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2019, 09:24:08 am »

A bit of searching uncovered this short documentary piece on Eatonís process:



Very interesting! (At least to me.)
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faberryman

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2019, 09:31:46 am »

Dan Burkholder's admonition that in photography you don't get extra credit for difficulty comes to mind.

OmerV

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2019, 09:46:33 am »

More like degree of uniqueness, I think. Anything that makes a piece of art more unique makes it (perceived as) more valuable.

Anything she does can now be recreated in 5 min in Photoshop. But that is not the point. You can buy a Mona Lisa on a chocolate box, but it want make it as valuable as the original, unique thing.

So, yes, we would like to think that pictures should stand on their own, without explanation, but as with all generalizations, this one is also false.

It is not how art is made, but the idea that matters. Of course someone can now duplicate with Photoshop what the artist is doing, but can they imagine how and what Ms. Eaton does? She may or may not be able to put into the physical her ideas using Photoshop, but that is irrelevant. What matters is that she does, however she chooses to do it.

How many of us know how Bethovan's music was composed? Do we really need to know how Delacroix constructed his paintings? Yes, knowing how things are done can be fascinating, but reading a lens teardown by Roger Cicala doesn't make me a better photographer.

Now I'll put on my cynicism hat and address your point on uniqueness: The article makes a point of the fact that the artist uses film rather than a digital sensor. The thing is, yes, the art world is exceedingly cynical and however value can be added to an art piece it will do so unreservedly. It is not coincidence that many of the well known art photographers use film.

Art forgers are very adept at how art is done but generally are not imaginative.

drralph

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2019, 10:06:53 am »

Even before I read the part where she had named the series in honor of Joseph Albers and Sol Lewitt, the work made me immediately think of the wonderful Lewitt galleries at MASS MoCA.  They have a whole building dedicated to 105 large-scale pieces of his work.  Color, form, and the idea at the core are all quite reminiscent of Jessica's work.

amolitor

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2019, 11:07:53 am »

This piece is a welcome step up. While I don't personally love the photographs, they strike me as rather more substantial than the work we've been seeing since Christmas. The tension between process, concept, and results is always there in photography, and always has been. The essential ease with which photographers make pictures has been a bone of contention since the beginning, and we all have our own resolutions to that conceptual difficulty.

What I dislike is this kind of breathless hagiography. It is a standard form for this kind of material, but it is always faintly ludicrous. The suggestion that "even professionals can't figure out how she does it" serves no purpose, and comes across as rather silly, for instance.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2019, 11:17:42 am »

...What matters is that she does, however she chooses to do it...

But if she chooses to do it in 5 min in Photoshop, the end result would have the same aesthetic appeal on the internet or in magazines, just not the same (monetary) value in galleries and among collectors. Just as the Mona Lisa's aesthetic appeal is the same on the chocolate box as in the Louvre.

elliot_n

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2019, 11:32:23 am »

What a pleasant surprise to see Jessica Eaton featured on Lula. The article is well-written and illustrated ó and it's nice to see the final work set against pictures of the studio. I hope this a sign of things to come.
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LesPalenik

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2019, 11:47:27 am »

I agree with Slobodan that some of those treatments could be duplicated in Photoshop, but that's just mechanics.
On the other hand, she has developed a systematic approach to laying down and combining various color shades and shapes, and that is part of her secret.

OmerV

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2019, 12:12:26 pm »

I agree with Slobodan that some of those treatments could be duplicated in Photoshop, but that's just mechanics.
On the other hand, she has developed a systematic approach to laying down and combining various color shades and shapes, and that is part of her secret.

Absolutely. But not being a collector, her secrets are not important to me. I'm more interested in her ideas and imagination.

But if she chooses to do it in 5 min in Photoshop, the end result would have the same aesthetic appeal on the internet or in magazines, just not the same (monetary) value in galleries and among collectors. Just as the Mona Lisa's aesthetic appeal is the same on the chocolate box as in the Louvre.

Well, a reproduction is just that, whether on a chocolate box, poster or magazine. An original, whether by Photoshop and printed, or physical construction, is always an original. How the art world choose to value one or the other is the issue. The video shows the actual film being scanned, photoshopped, and then ink jet printed. The prints then were marked for correction but it isn't clear if the corrections were done by rephotographing or by Photoshop.

Photography has always had the "it's a copy" problem within the art world. How Cindy Sherman gets past that I wish I knew.

Jessica Eaton's ideas are very interesting and I'm not dismissing her efforts. Still, I can't help but believe that the video was produced as proof of provenance for collectors.

amolitor

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2019, 12:26:52 pm »

The Art World does a lot of work to generate artificial scarcity. I might have the artist wrong here, but let Dan Flavin at any rate stand in for whatever sculptor in fluorescent light tubes I am thinking of, if he isn't the right one.

Many of Flavin's works would be easy to reproduce, they're simply an arrangement of commercially available fluorescent light tubes. Many of his works exist only as descriptions of that arrangement, because many were never even assembled during his lifespan. At least for a time, much of his work existed only in potentia, being perhaps the third in an edition of three, which had not yet sold (and therefore not yet built).

The thing is, if you own a Flavin but don't have a certificate, you don't own a Flavin, You own a lamp.

Somewhat controversially, the estate is now banging out these things, with certificates, natch.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2019, 12:31:13 pm »

Omer, at this point I am not sure what exactly are you disputing in what I said? My initial point was that the uniqueness of her method, its complexity as well, does play a significant role in the market/gallery valuation of her work, and not just its aesthetic appeal.

OmerV

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2019, 12:55:42 pm »

Omer, at this point I am not sure what exactly are you disputing in what I said? My initial point was that the uniqueness of her method, its complexity as well, does play a significant role in the market/gallery valuation of her work, and not just its aesthetic appeal.

We agree more than not.

But you said "So, yes, we would like to think that pictures should stand on their own, without explanation, but as with all generalizations, this one is also false." We disagree on this.  ;D

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2019, 01:20:47 pm »

... But you said "So, yes, we would like to think that pictures should stand on their own, without explanation, but as with all generalizations, this one is also false." We disagree on this.  ;D

You can't... it is logic (especially in the case of "all generalizations")  ;)

Most, of even vast majority of pictures should and do stand on their own. That does not mean that there aren't those whose appeal (marketing especially) is helped by uniqueness, scarcity, difficulty in reproducing (the original method, not the end product), explanatory title or legend, etc. Their existence does not devalue the original premise (about images standing on their own merit), on the contrary, it reinforces it (as in "exceptions prove the rule").

Martin Kristiansen

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Re: The Relentless Jessica Eaton
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2019, 01:44:40 pm »

You can't... it is logic (especially in the case of "all generalizations")  ;)

Most, of even vast majority of pictures should and do stand on their own. That does not mean that there aren't those whose appeal (marketing especially) is helped by uniqueness, scarcity, difficulty in reproducing (the original method, not the end product), explanatory title or legend, etc. Their existence does not devalue the original premise (about images standing on their own merit), on the contrary, it reinforces it (as in "exceptions prove the rule").

Iím not sure I follow the argument fully. What you are saying if I understand correctly when you say that images can and should stand on their own is no wordy underpinning. No explaining and describing. Perhaps no title even, not sure about that. Is that what you mean by standing on their own?

Where this position fails for me, if I am understanding you correctly, is there is always some context because of shared experiences and shared cultural standards and what not. What Iím trying to say is the context is implicit, shared and understood. That means the artist or photographer can never stray too far from mainstream norms of his or her audience because then the image wonít be able to stand on its own. Is that not a bit limiting?
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