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Jeremy Blake. On evanescence « DressLab : clothes+music+art
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Jeremy Blake. On evanescence

Author: Luisa Bernal

Section: LAB

Date: 06.2011


I’m not going to interview Jeremy Blake but I am going to talk about his hypnotic work, about his moving paintings’ saturated colour, the elegant evanescence present in his videos and the ability to capture our attention with each of his exuberant snapshots. Jeremy knew how to go a step further and transfer the dreamlike sensation of his abstract paintings and his concern for capturing light and texture in his photographs to the possibilities that digital media lay out before him.

Jeremy devoted himself to experimenting with rhythm using visual sequences and found beauty along the way. The artist perceived rhythm as an individual, vital experience ‘you only have to contemplate it in acts such as breathing, blinking or the heart beating’ and knew how to provoke emotions in the spectator through his interpretation of the balance between harmony and discord. Baldessari said of him that he had managed to go beyond technology and made it possible for the spectator to observe the image.

Jeremy knew how to create a personal universe, enjoy official recognition from the art world, win over the film-maker, cultural critique and blogger, Theresa Duncan and stay with her for twelve years. Those who knew them said they felt flattered in their aura of success.

Jeremy knew how to navigate between the limits of painting, photography and video art, and maybe that’s what caught the eye of experimentation lovers like Beck, for whom he made the beautiful video Round The Bend



and designed the album cover for Sea Change (2002)- or Paul Thomas Anderson -who hired him for the opening scenes of the film Punch-Drunk Love (2002)



In his video portrait series he combined films drawings and original photographs with painted and digital abstract figures. But behind each abstraction, he hid a deeper meaning that went beyond pure stylistic artifice. Through each of these tribute pieces (to British fashion designer Ossie Clark, associated with ‘Swinging London’, to indie musician and poet David Berman and to Malcolm McLaren manager of the Sex Pistols and designer).


Ossie-Clark l DressLab.com


But I’m not going to interview Jeremy Blake because of what he didn’t know how to do: Jeremy didn’t know how to disconnect himself from Theresa’s paranoia when she felt pursued by the Church of Scientology, Jeremy didn’t know how to see that it wasn’t true that everyone who didn’t believe these conspiracy theories was against them, Jeremy didn’t know how to not follow the woman who had been his partner for twelve years and a week after she committed suicide, he walked into the Atlantic Ocean. Leaving a pile of clothes, his wallet and note evoking Theresa behind him. It was 2007 and Jeremy Blake was 35 years old.

Jeremy faded away like the coloured lights in his videos and, just as when the film ends, we are left wanting more…we will keep our eyes open for the script that Bret Easton Ellis is preparing about his life for a future film it is rumoured that Gus Van Sant will direct.



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