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Framing synchronicity: Cheryl Jacobsen’s exhibition “Pins, Bones, Gold & Games” opens Friday


Cheryl Jacobsen: “Pins, Bones, Gold & Games”

Hudson River Gallery and Frame Co. — April 13-May 19
Opening reception: Friday, April 13 at 6 p.m.

“Dragon Story” by Cheryl Jacobsen — photo courtesy of the Hudson River Gallery

Cheryl Jacobsen teaches calligraphy at the renowned University of Iowa Center for the Book, and has assembled artifacts of random finds, collaged to shape, rather than tell, textured stories.

They range from a black and white photo of a Victorian baby behind bars whose shadow from the gallery lights move across an electrical box lid, to a “domesticated” dragon with sparkle-studded collar leashed to a red and black typewriter ribbon flying above Chinese checkers as the arc of a giant golden moon wanes. Space and time keep tension with some sort of other arrangement.

Jacobsen’s process involves dismantling a familiar object and suspending it in a new form. She collects lost treasures on hikes or antique shop hunts and reassembles them on a large board or antique typewriter. Her tableau becomes a collection of her numerous delicate finds, leaving you lost in another world.

“Too Safe” by Cheryl Jacobsen — photo courtesy of the Hudson River Gallery

The value of the pieces abide by some unwritten code, guided by some other knowing, and produce an almost uncanny resonance of the objects, their maker and that space in between that’s hard to pin down, but leaves open so much room to step into and play. This series of found objects requires a different sense to fully comprehend what’s being presented.

These manifold stories are being told at Nick Hotek’s Hudson River Gallery until May 19. The exhibit is entitled, “Pins, Bones, Gold, and Games – Inevitable Object Interactions.” It consists of various narratives in thick glass, still foggy from early American “visitors,” and found bits of carcasses — less iconic than Georgia O’Keefes’s bull, but equally compelling — set upon a manufactured board game from decades ago, held in lozenge or diamond frame, adjusting the orthogonal viewing plane, necessitated by a cartoon boy.

The many synonyms for “layer” are played out piece by piece in tactile, pleasing objets trouves, or found objects, that tell of how things were made. Unlike Joseph Cornell’s shadow boxes, these have a loving logic for how forms “read” together.

Jacobsen is currently working on a commission of Beowulf in the original Anglo Saxon on vellum, which she says is remarkably forgiving to erasing as she blends in a 21st-century view, both preserving and recreating anew.

“Good Cheap” by Cheryl Jacobsen — photo courtesy of the Hudson River Gallery

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