From his concept of juxtaposition explored methodically in his two series of works, Jacob has moved on to create a meld which he describes as the “DJ’s in music creating fusion adding to enhance and at the same time making it different by maintaining the base composition”. 

In this new series, Jacob has extended this ideology through a blend of ‘types’ of pigments, which includes PVC matt and acrylic pearl colours.  His visual vocabulary is broader based, sourcing images and forms from his various experiences that includes his recent visit to S.E. Asia.  It is therefore not surprising to see the iconic presence of Buddha images, which he says “flooded his sensibility, seeing it everywhere”. 

Jacob in his conceptual approach is not philosophical but markedly perceptual and empirical.  His semantics is to sensitively explore new images and blend them to create unique composition of complex intricacy.

His methodology is process driven.  And for the process to be productively effective he goes through mental planning, structuring and organizing his protagonist imagery which could be a Buddha, a page from a newspaper and magazine, pixilation from computer generated images, road maps, mosquito nets or any interesting image which becomes a grist for Jacob’s artistic mill.  Of this particular series Jacob says, “I have consciously avoided using directly mixed colours available commercially in pack.  What I have done is to mix the particular colour such as red which will have another shade mixed into it, to either deepen or lighten it.  Also the colours are either matt or pearl.  By juxtaposing and fusing, it is possible to create different visual effects.  This experience came to me from my working on the stage sets.  As a matter of fact my exploration of techniques with different materials and colours has its basis in set designing, which gave me freedom to be dramatically expressive and exploratory”. 

His colours are choreographed according to his moods and sentiments; drawn over as skeins of pigments, tacked on, playfully twisted, geometrically stacked as rays of light, trickling with fluidity, blotched on, rhythmically swirling.  All this is effectively manipulated by working with his squeegee and paint directly on the screen with the paper beneath to create a drama of textures, musical fusion of forms, poetic linearity of lines and above all his colours generating a staccato rhythm.  Some colours are optimistic with electric blues, contemplative oranges, pragmatic browns, snow whites and athletic pinks generating visual somersaults, while other colours are subdued with tones ranging from light to dark contained in silence to provoke visual curiosity. 

Jacob’s abstractions therefore are distinct, signifying a practice in which he never deploys the brush as a tool rather the fine and thick lines and curlicula strokes are ingeniously manipulated with his squeegee used for serigraphy.  Though his abstractions may appear uniform or similar there are subtleties that set grades of differentiation between his works.  Therefore privileging technique and tools, he freely evolves evocative shapes and images which combined with colours and textures invite a closer scrutiny.  And in the course of holding a visual dialogue with his works those fragments of lived reality emerges and the viewer is able to make connections.

Jacob in his creative forays has not limited himself to creating prints or paintings, but has also made installations and sculptures.  His next project may lead to, creating three dimensional works.

Chennai, September 2007

 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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