J. Fiber is a collaborative drawing project of artists Jane Fine and James Esber, a married couple, both painters represented by Pierogi, who have lived and worked in Williamsburg since 1986.
Although the artists occasionally made drawings together during the first two decades of their relationship, J. Fiber was not hatched as a serious project until 2007. The first show of J. Fiber drawings, titled World War Me, was at Pierogi in March of 2008.
Since that time drawings by J. Fiber have been included in several group shows in Brooklyn as well as in a show at Daniel Weinberg Gallery in Los Angeles and Art on Paper at The Weatherspoon Gallery in North Carolina. In 2009 J. Fiber was commissioned by Dieu Donné Papermill to produce a print for their Editions Club.
In December 2010 J. Fiber was artist-in-residence at The Central City Artist Project in New Orleans. In conjunction with this visit, a large exhibit of work on paper by J. Fiber was shown at The Wesley as part of New Orleans’ Prospect 1.5.
An in-depth interview with the artists about their collaboration can be found at http://brooklynrail.org/2008/04/art/makin-whoopee-a-conversation-with-j-fiber
Located on the border between figuration and abstraction, Jane Fine’s drawings resemble rotten landscapes. Anthropomorphic bits and pieces populate battlefields, sinking ships and abandoned construction sites. Collapse and decay are ever-present while scaffolding, nails, bricks, tape and patches try to slow the slide toward entropy. In this new group of improvisational work on paper, the drawing materials are limited to black (and hints of silver) marker on dark-hued paper. The depicted conflicts function as a metaphor for the battles inherent in the creative process: trying to make something from nothing, intention from accident, illusion from flatness and meaning from doubt.
In his drawings, James Esber addresses notions of distortion and perception by mining the pawed-over icons of popular culture, some stuck in his head since childhood. The list includes sugary sweet Hummel figurines, musclemen, war photos, crushed cars and pornography. Heavily imbued with pathos but deflated by overuse, these icons have lost not just their respectability, but also their ability to faithfully represent. Now more object than image, they float freely between media and derive their meaning solely from context. Gathering up these image fragments and subjecting them to a variety of digital contortions, Esber ultimately remakes them as tactile analog drawings through layered calligraphic strokes of paint.
The drawings of J. Fiber, made with poured acrylic, colored pencil, graphite and ink are small worlds, rife with drama and conflict. Ruggedly masculine passages bump against petite strings of flowers; turgid forms push into bosomy mountains; and little boys with guns wear bows in their hair. Images of sex and violence are everywhere subverted by feminine decoration. Working section by section, the couple pass the drawings back and forth, challenging each other at each exchange, ultimately creating small worlds, full of paradox. J. Fiber describes the creative process as a curiously potent struggle between two sides of the self, where decision-making can be as fraught as an old married couple’s argument over whose turn it is to do the dishes.
“He Said, She Said,” Gibson Gallery, SUNY Potsdam, Potsdam, New York
“Three out of Two”, The Flood Gallery, Asheville, North Carolina
“Where Boys with Guns Wear Bows in their Hair,” (in conjunction with Prospect 1.5), The Wesley, New Orleans, Louisiana.
“J. Fiber: World War Me”, Pierogi/Brooklyn.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
“Double Down,” Pierogi, New York, NY
“PIEROGI XX: Twentieth Anniversary Exhibition,” Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
“Idiom I,” Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY
“image/clot”, Zolla Lieberman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois.
“Cloud Nine”, The Front Room, Brooklyn, New York.
“Williamsburg 2000”, Art 101, Brooklyn, New York
“Thinking Through Drawing”, The Macy Gallery, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, New York; traveled to Concordia College, Bronxville, New York.
“Pierogi, et. al.”, Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles, California.
“Art on Paper”, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (catalog)
Central City Artist Project, Artist-in-Residence, New Orleans, Louisiana.