Jessica Eaton’s photographs are a bit like visual science experiments—they use the physical properties of large-format film photography to ask questions about illusion, color theory and vision itself. Using multiple exposures, custom-made sets and masks, and additive color she builds pictures that are abstractions to be savored, as well as puzzles that call out to be reverse-engineered in the mind of the viewer.
Her acclaimed series “Cubes For Albers and LeWitt (cfaal)” references both the color studies of Josef Albers’s “Homage to the Square” paintings, and the methodical minimalism of conceptual artist Sol LeWitt. As Eaton told an interviewer at The Photographers’ Gallery, LeWitt’s thinking in particular has been an influence: “He speaks about reducing the subject to the simplest possible form, and reusing it so that the more abstract idea or concept can become the subject,” she noted.
She uses that reductive approach in a new series, “Pictures for Women,” which is on view as part of solo shows at both M+B in Los Angeles, up until November 12, and at Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran in Montreal, on view until October 29. In these images, Eaton builds kinetic sets that incorporate abstract artwork made by women; motion blurs the images into hypnotic, luminous pictures that reference painters ranging from Georgia O’Keeffe and Helen Frankenthaler to Amy Sillman and Tomma Abts. Also on view are images from her series “Transition” and “Revolution,” which continue her work with color separation, masking, multiple exposures and blur. Finding surprising color and shape by working with limited materials, Eaton, like LeWitt, makes art in the confines self-imposed rules.