Jacob Kassay (b. 1984)
signed and dated 'Kassay 10' (on the overlap)
acrylic and silver deposit on canvas
48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm.)
Painted in 2010.
Eleven Rivington, New York
Art:Concept, Paris
Paris, Art:Concept, Jacob Kassay, May-June 2010.

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Sara Friedlander
Sara Friedlander

Lot Essay

Resembling a cross between monochrome painting and minimalist sculpture, Jacob Kassay's silver canvases are mediated by various ambiental factors: changes in light, the reflected gallery space and its viewers and even the electro-plating process itself. As evident in the present example, the work is interactive in nature, bearing some resemblance to Minimalist sculpture by artists such as Donald Judd and Robert Morris. The surface is primed, composed, painted and prepared on canvas in the studio and then finished by a process similar to mirror or silver plating. The resulting image, however, is subverted by impasto, gesture, string, tape, oxidation and tarnish. Employing the reflection of light thus engages the interpretive qualities of painting, image-making and abstraction.

"In the best-known of Kassay's paintings, the artist has employed a technique of electro-plated silver over a base of acrylic on canvas, carefully plating only the face of the canvas to retain the work's identity as a painting. [The artist states] 'In the first set of paintings I did, I plated the edges, too-but those appeared to be too sculptural on the wall.' The plating is thin, and magnifies marks; the reflective surface breaks light and exaggerates effects. In doing so, the technique creates a slight bas-relief with sparse brushstrokes in acrylic. Kassay's strategy for making the work has the air of invention--an effect he does not emphasize. He does, however, align himself very easily with artists that pre-date him by generations: 'I was just interested in gestures of absolute transformation of surface, like in Lucio Fontana, or work like that' (A. Walleston, "Jacob Kassay: History's Mirror," Art in America, October 2011).

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