Member of the Month February 2021
Grace in isolation. This is the central theme of Jacques Garnier’s Hymns to the Silence. A more poetic formulation, and one I have often quoted, are the famous final lines of Albert Camus’s The Myth of Sisyphus: “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”
These photographs dwell in the zone between report and fabrication. “I try to create the poem from the evidence,” said playwright Arthur Miller. Garnier’s photographs capture modernist buildings with detail and fidelity, but at the same moment are crafted fictions. They directly record but are vastly recast. They are reliable intelligence and utter illusion. Consequently, they strike an attentive viewer simultaneously as remembrance and as revelation. He has increasingly decided art should not deliver a report on reality but instead look at what is behind reality. The artist seeks to transcend the subject, essentially make subject matter irrelevant. These are reductive works, images that remove the superfluous. What remains, finally, is awareness itself, the bare viewer, a consciousness of visual perception itself. This is an emotional quest, a spiritual journey.
The negative space of these deconstructed images is the pause between the notes of the music, a disruption, to make you create your own interpretation and to enjoy the silence. This emptiness allows for potential.
Jacques Garnier is an artist based in Southern California. His work has been featured in over a hundred national and international exhibitions. While Garnier’s earlier work concentrated on imagery of urban redistribution and repurposing in the American landscape his more recent work has taken a more minimalist tone, using abstractions and negative space in an effort to still the chaos that ceaselessly surrounds us. All of Garnier’s projects share these common elements: exacting framing, elimination of superfluous, compelling graphics, stringent attention to detail and a meditative calmness. Along with six books, Garnier is also the co-creator of the Great Picture, the world’s largest photograph.