Jordan Eagles: Blood Dust
Boston Center for the Arts
April 25 – June 29, 2014
Dust you are, to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:19)
For his debut one-person exhibition in Boston, artist Jordan Eagles presents a group of unsettling and sublimely beautiful hybrid paintings and sculptures, utilizing blood from slaughtered cattle as a medium to explore profound perceptions of life, death and resurrection. The title “Blood Dust” refers literally to the material remains of dried blood—black rock-like forms that take years to create—and to biblical and literary themes of mortality. Along with the inevitable passage from life to death, Eagles concerns himself with rebirth and resurrection in a unique art practice that involves the recycling and regeneration of blood. Startling but aesthetically appealing works, made from 2011 to the present, feature fresh, aged and dried blood. A variety of abstract expressionist and minimalist forms evolve from Eagles’ practice of pouring, sprinkling and soaking the organic material on Plexiglas bases. Here, the blood’s natural colors, patterns, and textures are permanently enshrined and sealed in coatings of clear UV resin that flow over the edges of the substrate in icicle-like drips. The resultant highly polished minimalist objects act as reflective and self-reflective surfaces.
Using blood as an artistic medium, Eagles’ work evokes widely divergent fields of inquiry, including biology, geology, astronomy and alchemy. His art combines notions of sacrificial ritual with innovative mark-making and lighting techniques. Eagles’ distinctive images result from a range of processes including layering blood at different densities as well as heating, burning and aging his material. As the blood dries, its shades vary from bright crimson to dark burgundy, magenta, and black. In some cases, Eagles mixes copper, a conductor of electricity, with blood to get a glow of fiery energy, while in others, he utilizes blood dust to suggest meteor showers lighting up a darkened sky. The resulting works simultaneously emit and contain potent energy in a performative manner, casting shadows and revealing both subtle and vivid luminous forms.
Working with themes of preservation and decomposition, Eagles recycles mortal remains into objects that appear as metaphors for experiences ranging from the silence of sarcophagi to the powerful force of cosmic explosions. The materials and luminosity in these works straddle the space between life and death. They refer to and re-define, according to the artist, “premises of corporeality, mortality, spirituality and science---invigorating blood as sublime.”
–Francine Koslow Miller, curator