“I would not call Sunny’s bar an installation. I would not call mobile cottage a sculpture. And I would certainly not call living in my mother’s back yard a performance.”
Paul Jacobsen’s current exhibition, home, studio and upstate cabin are all integral to his painting practice. Sunny’s bar is a Red Hook institution on Conover Street and the site of his most recent intervention. Installed with Jacobsen’s paintings, drawings, photographs and personal albums, books and clothing extracted from his studio and home, the exhibition is a seamless part of the bar’s own collection of ephemeral history dating back to 1890, and for the artist, an attempt to integrate art and life.
Jacobsen enters his lean-to shanty through his mother’s front door and across a verdant garden– a living situation which draws upon his relationship with his mother as muse and subject in an upcoming series of paintings at Gasser/Grunert Gallery. ”I moved in with Mom last fall after abandoning my Williamsburg loft home of 8 years,” the artist says, “and after deciding not to purchase an old General Store in the town of Galilee, PA for fear of hydro-fracking.”
Beyond city limits, Jacobsen, with the help of a friend, built an upstate caravan on a flatbed trailer in Sullivan County, NY. Measuring just 7 x 14 feet, the caravan was conceived as a sculpture in a group exhibition and a symbol for hermetic sanctuary, but has since functioned simply as a cottage for living. The artist offers, ”Anyone is welcome to stay in the caravan as long as my girlfriend and I aren’t already there.”
Across these distinct locations, the concept and aesthetics of “home” figure prominently. Jacobsen critiques how the housing market and property system encourages relocation every 5 years or so turning us into individualist nomads in an atomized and fragmented society. According to the artist, the development of cities, suburbs and malls are shaping the way individuals live instead of the other way around. His personal sensibility of home is a refusal of this reality.
Check out Paul Jacobsen’s show at Sunny’s Bar on view through August
Check out the artist’s website
Jacobsen is represented by Gasser/Grunert Gallery in New York and David B. Smith Gallery in Denver