This exhibition continues Feige’s investigation of the awe-inspiring potential of the American landscape through the lens of artistic counterculture movements of the 1960s and 70s. In his new paintings, the superimposition of geometric forms onto intricately formulated landscapes combines the romanticism of Nineteenth Century American painting with the trippy kaleidoscopic patterns of Psychedelic art. Works such as Dusk Accelerator and From the Fire Tower draw equally from the aesthetic vocabulary of American Surrealist painter Kay Sage, as from the swirling patterns born from altered states of consciousness that decorated album covers of an entire generation of musicians. While seemingly unspecific, each painting depicts a particular geographic location of biographical significance, from Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn to the reaches of the Catskill Mountains of New York state and rural areas of Southern California.
The glossy glazes of the canvases smooth the layers of the painted surface, marrying the natural world to the abstract designs. The sublimity of Feige’s landscapes makes distinct reference to the Hudson River School and the transcendental power of the American land as both an untouched utopia and one ripe for human interference and ruin. In a visual language reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, yet without the confines of gravity or material, Feige’s work reflects the human impulse to mimic nature in architecture by building structures that are symmetrical and orderly, while alluding to the impossible exchange between the environment and human activity. Going beyond the affinities of young artists of his generation, Feige relates popular reflections of underground ideas rather than reinventing clichés in purely nostalgic terms. The artistic output of counterculture collectives of the 1960s, such as Drop City Commune in Colorado, figures as an important influence in Feige’s oeuvre. Founded in 1965 by experimental artists and filmmakers, Drop City was inspired by the “happenings” of Allan Kaprow and the impromptu performances, a few years earlier, of John Cage, Robert Rauschenberg and Buckminster Fuller at Black Mountain College.
The title piece, After Dense Fog, blends pop culture sensibilities and existential metaphors, as it refers both to a Brian Eno song and to the painted representation of atmospheric elements that govern perceptual experience. Feige’s paintings reveal the movement of any artistic process from internal to external, the inward search for outward expressions of things greater than oneself, while reminding us of the human condition to project onto the world around us that which we seek or desire.
Born in 1979 in Albany, New York, Jacob Feige received a BHA from Carnegie Mellon in 2002 and an MFA in painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2005. His work has been recently exhibited at the Orlando Museum of Art and at the Daimler Chrysler Emerging Artist Award Exhibition in Berlin. Upcoming shows include Fracture and Fidelity at RISD. He currently lives and works in New York City.