What I am Looking at: Jens Brasch
Caught looking again. [ First Look ]
This past Friday 33 Collective Gallery opened its 5th Annual National Self-Portrait Exhibit to which I contributed two small pieces.
The show opened to a large crowd – not surprising when your showing close to 50 artists. With so many artists showing there is always the opportunity that something quite new will surface and I think it did with Jens Brasch’s piece “the apparitions of faces in the crowd – the narrative self.”
Jens has a long, long history working with his own identity and self-portraiture. In his new piece he iterates the idea that Art and Identity need to be read. His work is a library series of twenty book covers on five shelves each contributing to the subject matter – himself. There is a lot to be said about this piece. It owes so much to Duchamp, Rembrandt and other artists who articulated individual human identity. Instead of enumerating the obvious and not so obvious I will leave it to others. His recent work is some of the strongest I have seen in today’s contemporary galleries.
One other point. With the depth that human awareness has achieved and the trajectory of the new, complexity has squeezed out prodigy from contributing to the depth of the new. I think Jen’s work is a great example of how much stuff his contemporary life processes and of course I am very sympathetic to the path he has taken. I find the depth behind his immediacy refreshing after enduring nearly twenty years of graphical one liners in the gallery’s of contemporary art. For the intellectually challenged a one liner became a simulacra for a minimalist moment.