New York-based artist Julia Jacquette (b. 1964) is best known for exploring the realms of desire and sentiment through images of food and everyday commodities. In 2000 New York’s Museum of Modern Art featured Jacquette’s installation of paper plates, cups and napkins as part of their on-going series of exhibitions entitled Projects 69. In this display Jacquette tackled some of the recurring themes also found in her prints, particularly the relationship between human longing and materialism. Jacquette’s tightly cropped etching of details of wedding cakes, White on White (2001), for example, invites consideration of cultural attitudes towards gender, human bodies, and notions of individuality.
Much of Jacquette’s previous work focused on objects of desire. In the series My Houses the artist was captivated by the imagery of beautiful homes that permeate our culture. Dining Room with Horse Painting mitigates the idea of manufactured images. Here it is personal. We see a beautiful dining room table set for a celebration. Candles glow and silver and glass reflect light. The artist explains,
This aquatint is a part of a body of work I made called “My Houses” which expresses my reaction to the plethora of images we see daily of luxurious homes. In the past few years there seems to be a boom in shelter magazines and home shows on television. In the art world one comes into contact with dealers and collectors with enviable residencies yet as an artist, even one who is lucky enough to sell work, you are not likely to be able to afford this kind of home. My response was to create my own vast collection of luxury homes situated all over the world. Of course the act is full of pathos as there is no way I can actually inhabit these houses.
I used the process of aquatint because of its beautiful tonality and wide range of values. I knew it would capture the dramatic lighting and reflective surfaces in the image I wanted to depict which was found in a home magazine. I don’t make that many black and white images, but there was something about this particular one that made me think it would work well this way. It’s one of the more close-up views in the My Houses series. I really see all of the paintings, drawings, and prints in this group as one big artwork which documents my imagined properties with a variety of views both in black and white and in color.
Jacquette completed her B.S. at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York in 1986 and her M.F.A. at Hunter College of the City University of New York in 1992. She has been awarded many fellowships including ones at The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs and, in 1998, she received a Pollock/Krasner Grant.
Jacquette has exhibited widely. She has had solo exhibitions at Michael Steinberg Fine Art and Holly Solomon Gallery, both in New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Galerie Oliver Schweden, Munich, Germany; Cleveland Institute of Art; Adelphi University Gallery, Adelphi University, Garden City; Pinnacle Gallery, Savannah College of Art and Design; 1kProjectspace, Amsterdam and The Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College.
By Margaret Dobbins
DINING ROOM WITH HORSE PAINTING, The Print Club of Cleveland Publication No. 88, 2010. Aquatint on Hahnemuhle Copperplate paper. Printed by Kathy Kuehn and Bill Hall, New York, 2008.