Magazine article Artforum International

Elizabeth Jaeger: And Now

Magazine article Artforum International

Elizabeth Jaeger: And Now

Article excerpt

Elizabeth Jaeger

AND NOW

Characterized by an economy of form and material, the spare sculptural tableaux of Elizabeth Jaeger's first solo exhibition in Texas are a meditation on physical and emotional supports. The slumped pinkish leather shape in the deadpanned Black Leather Bench and Pink Bean Bag (all works 2015), for example, is buttressed by a handmade modernist-style leather bench, from which the form casually cascades. This sack-like form, filled with dried peas, operates as both punching bag and body pillow. Denigrated and beloved, the bag is a fair approximation of what it's like to be human most days.

An equally anthropomorphic trio of stretchers made of aluminum and silk (Stretcher 1-3) leaned lazily against the gallery walls: As the checklist pointed out, their silk is hand-dyed and their aluminum tubes hand-bent. Indeed, handcraft has been an important aesthetic marker in Jaeger's previous work--wonkily proportioned plaster and ceramic humanoid and dog sculptures. This new trio brings to mind the poetic virtuosity of Susan Collis and Robert Gober in the works' ability to convincingly ape the objects they purport to be. Of course, the silks' shimmery colors-- the fabric is dyed in a combination of indigo and teal--bespeak each structure's status as art. By including so few works (five total) within the generous space, Jaeger asked the viewer to pay attention to the intricacies of each. After all, these are not stretcher bars for paintings but field stretchers, the supports used to extricate fallen soldiers from battlefields. What perils might necessitate such beautiful cots?

If the work runs into danger (and maybe danger is an overstatement), it's that in using luxury materials ("Italian-sourced leather" and silk have histories as high-priced commodities), Jaeger appears to uncritically parlay a misconception about her own biography, namely her trajectory from boutique model to artist. The New York Times ran a profile of Jaeger this past October with the headline "Elizabeth Jaeger, Former Model, Reshaping Her Career." Get it? She's a sculptor now! In an interview with the Brooklyn Rail, Jaeger describes her foray into modeling as an experiment to aid in her figure construction. …

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