The following is written by WPG Intern Fawna Xiao on member artist Pauline Jakobsberg. While it is still too far out to tell what Pauline’s solo exhibition next year will include, this is a great introduction to her clothing prints and some of print cut-outs, which can currently be seen in the gallery.
It’s very difficult not to like Pauline Jakobsberg’s work. Her work commands the room with its mysterious headless figures– which upon closer examination are not exactly figures at all; they’re just the clothing.
She explains that these fabrics and garments are a little bit more; they’re more memories and evidence of past events than accessories to current ones. It’s easy to believe in that, when looking at her work. The dresses have minds of their own. They float and hover, some hang on clothing hangers that they don’t really seem to need. The dresses create gentle silhouettes that echo the female form, even if they are missing the arms and legs.
Jakobsberg creates a quiet mystery to her garments. The mystery goes beyond
who wore these dresses, where these dresses were worn, and when they were worn. She plays with our definition and use of these garments. They are status symbols, protectors from the cold and wind, they hide things and show things.
They might evoke a memory, like the way a wedding dress or a child’s sundress does. They can make us feel beautiful or vulnerable. It becomes immediately certain that these are not normal dresses. Some of them, on closer inspection, are just pretty curved shapes with a hook– that we read as dresses without a second thought. The dresses read as characters, as individuals. I can see dresses that read like my mother, other dresses that read as friends. Some of her prints even incorporate several different dresses that interact with each other– maybe different sides of a character or several characters having a conversation.
The dresses are expressively drawn, and the colors are perfect. Jakobsberg has an excellent eye for rich color. Her palette echoes each dress’s character: strong reds for a powerfully sassy dress, or a subtle earth tone for a shyer dress. There is always a subdued strength in her work; in fact, they have a habit of glowing.
Pauline Jakobsberg’s dresses are character studies, and nothing less. Her gorgeous prints are the kinds that drop jaws and catch eyes. The lovely ladies captured in the dresses are coyly fascinating , and they all have a story to tell.