The work of Gregory Jacobsen depicts a slaughter. His work reveals the primal and wondrous parts of us, the parts just beneath the surface of our social mores fighting with our basest desires. These paintings lure as they terrify, inciting a reluctant humor.
Many of his paintings are still-life oil paintings gone mad. In “Oozing Embankment,” from 2009, it is as if there was once a less subversive still-life there, the fruits representing anticipated consumption. But tradition has been turned inside out, upside down, and left to show us what is really there: color, decay, and a natural, oozing beauty.
Jacobsen’s paintings and performances conjure conflicted feelings of terrorized fascination, a beauty in decay and gore, the truth of human existence. These moments originate from the underbelly of desire, terror, instincts for consumption, and compulsions toward what is odd and beautiful.
Jacobsen grew up in Middlesex, New Jersey. “A very strange place with an inferiority complex,” he says. “It’s New York’s little neighbor with fading mobster guys who are really always shit on and are considered second tier.” He says that New Jersey influences him; its inferiority complex causes him to look inward to evaluate himself, his body, and then outward to reveal similar truths about others.