The restlessness of discontent became the barometer for the conceptual progress in Jacob’s works.  As an artist given to inventing new forms, his constant search was towards exploring and experimenting with different mediums in which the process was privileged.  His intensity of purpose led him to an engagement with exploratory techniques, simultaneously conditioning his concepts and forms. Jacob in these earlier works engaged with material as metal for support and playfully explored its surface to create prints, painting and repousse in which choreographic line becomes a dominant centrality. Through these series of experiments, intensely pandered to over the past few years, he has emerged with mastery over the medium, style and expression; leaving behind influences of early western modern masters.

From his earlier series of Tribute to Van Gogh [2002], Dragonflies [2003], to his Sounds and Forms [2004], Jacob has sensitively traveled the road to emerge with abstraction as a visual language.  Towards the fulfillment of this process in articulating a visual language, his engagement has been with local/popular culture.  The forms, images, texture and imprints of his body parts together with delicate traceries of his brushstrokes foregrounds his postmodern sensibility, with his semantics anchored in local culture.  His work in the series of Sounds and Forms therefore evoke the sights and sounds of the cultural reality he lives with, be it graffiti, advertising hoardings, imagery emanating from electronic media and music - vernacular or other.  These aural and visual traces consciously absorbed by his sensory attitude, perceptively merge to create music of sounds and forms. 

In this series, Jacob has interfaced with various techniques of printmaking, such as serigraphy, monoprints, etc worked over in many layers; but meticulously ordered to defy the understanding of technique, leaving the viewer bewildered to his illusive working methodology.  He describes these graphic processes as “Heat Engraving/Screen Printing”.  According to Jacob, “The quest for textured prints has led my mind to use acrylic sheets, at first, and now on CDs.  Every time the heating rod makes contact with the surface…it has a different story to tell”.

The concept of ‘juxtaposition’ is innate with Jacob and he explores it in various ways.  Beginning with Sounds and Forms his engagement was literally with actual CD’s – detritus of technology - placed on acrylic sheets and webbed with brush strokes and pigments. In his next series titled ‘Juxtapose’, he metaphorically translates music through colours, form and space.

Jacob in this series, created unique prints, dexterously employing the technology at his disposal of heat gun, serigraphy, CD disks, cad programmes etc.  Though he has not duplicated or reproduced any of his works, but the duplication remains in the consistent use of the imagery appearing many times over in his prints.  These works of his are referred as prints because he goes through the tedious and time consuming process of creating images in serigraphy and transposing them on his paper at the right place with the appropriate colours etc, and continuing in this vein on a single work till he feels aesthetic fulfillment.  The many layers, which his works are constructed of, create a palimpsest, making the process not only technically and aesthetically enjoyable but indirectly cathartic.  As he works, he simultaneously lives through many visual experiences, interfacing with latent realities of his subconscious, which allows diverse forms and imagery to slowly creep out and take shape.  And if he is making reference to music, it is not the pure magical aural experience; rather it is the music of life; lived and contested, evolved through personal experiences and memories.

 Ms. Ashrafi S. Bhagat. M.A., M. Phil., PH.D., is the Head, Department of Fine Arts, Stella Maris College, Chennai.  She is an Art Historian and writes on modern and contemporary art. 

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