When you walk into Samuel Jablon’s debut solo exhibition at Freight + Volume, the first thing you notice is the surprising physicality of the work. Maybe it’s memories of Christopher Wool’s thin, nearly monochromatic retrospective last fall, but generally when I think of text, I think flat and uniform. Jablon’s work is quite the opposite: they are big, bright, sensuously labored three-dimensional objects that exude an authentic joy of process and heterogeneous thought.
Although text seems to be the primary vehicle for Jablon, the thick, pastry-like passages and glistening glass tiles over washy veils of paint cannot be separated from the subject matter. Each letter becomes a world of its own describing – through form – a personality and intricacy that is both visual and audible. With paint and tile, a simple command such as “Do It” suddenly, and surprisingly, takes on an audibly strange, yet playful “DoO IT”. Likewise, in Beckett, one of the largest pieces on view, the semi-appropriated mantra “Must go on, Can’t go on, Must go on, I’ll Go On” pulses across the surface with a visual cadence that feels as though the painting were light-heartedly convincing itself as much as any
In all of Jablon’s pieces, words meld together, colors take on sound, and meaning oozes in and out of focus as the poetic, witty, and sometimes cheeky phrases change before your eyes. The experience is simultaneously dyslexic and synesthetic. While there is a long lineage of artists utilizing text in their work, Samuel Jablon seems to have found a new awareness with words, sounds, and their relationship to image.
“Word:Play” is on view at Freight + Volume, New York, Aug. 21st–Sept. 20th, 2014
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Elliot Purse b. 1989 Originally from just outside Chicago, is an Artist and Writer living and working in Bushwick Brooklyn. http://elliotpurse.com