I first saw paintings by Jacob Collins at our New York gallery’s solo-exhibition of his work in 2010. I grew up seeing representational painting and at the time of the exhibition, I was immersed in “academic” painting while studying art history at Boston University. I connected acutely with Collins’ paintings, far more than I had been able to with his historic predecessors. I felt elements of familiarity and sincerity in the work; they struck me as compelling and unique compositions, yet tied to the canon of Classical painting. I recognized that the objects and places he chose had a personal connection to the artist, which was made more evident with the knowledge that he painted them from life, and never from photographs.
What continues to fascinate me about the landscape and still life paintings by Jacob Collins are not the subjects themselves, but rather the human presence that lingers just beyond the frame of the picture. When I look at an inanimate object in Jacob’s paintings, I am at first transfixed by the skillful and deliberate application of paint, and then I am drawn in and moved by the subject’s complexity. They are not just paintings of fruits, or instruments, or trees and countryside; rather, they contain an aura of humanity. Whether it’s an orange – carefully manipulated by hand, or a coastline with a sprinkle of civilization in the distance, each composition seems carefully crafted to place the viewer just far enough away so they may reflect on the scene in relation to their own life.
This is our first exhibition of Jacob Collins’ work at Adelson Galleries Boston. My hope is that our audience will have the same profound response that I had when I first saw these paintings.