326 Gallery is proud to present Recognition, new work by Brooklyn based artist Jac Lahav from December 14th through January 15, 2018. Recognition will present work from three distinct series of Lahav’s portraiture: 48 Jews, The Great Americans, and Slaves.
For Lahav, portraiture is a visual interrogation and interpretation of identity. He invites the viewer to reflect upon his vision of historical subjects in the era of photography. Through developing a flat, multilayered and often liquid approach to painting, he projects his thinking on biography, identity, myth, and the veils of layer and meaning that are imbued in them.
Further, Lahav renders each of the series in a uniformly sized canvas, suggesting a commonality amongst his subjects as place holders in history, unique, yet possibly interchangeable. The series have no set number of works, there is no beginning middle or end to this serialization; even the misleading title 48 Jews is no more an identifier to the number of paintings as it is a demarcation of import. Completeness to an individual series or closure is impossible and a deliberate point of meditation on notion of identity and biography.
48 Jews explores Lahav’s own history as a dual citizen of Israel and America. As someone who asks fundamental identity questions, “what is Judaism?” “who is a Jew?”- the artist, attempts to use his various subjects as interrogators for these questions.
Similarly, The Great Americans was conceived from the Discovery Channel series of the same name which asked Americans to vote on "who is the greatest American". The response favored media personalities to inventors and scientists, positing in a painfully Warholian turn that perhaps a disproportionate value is placed on celebrity rather than substance.
In his series Slaves, Lahav’s research into American culture becomes a springboard for diving into the world history of slavery. Though slavery may be universally considered a stain on humanity, Lahav seeks to redress this dehumanization. Through the elevating act of portraiture, Lahav monumentalizes that ability within us to triumph over adversity.
This exhibition presents new works to each of the three groups. Many of these paintings will be traveling to a survey show at the Saginaw Art Museum in Saginaw Michigan (2018), and then the Great Americans will travel to two subsequent solo shows at The Longview Museum of Fine Art in Longview Texas (October 2018) and the Florence Griswold Museum in Lyme, CT (2019).