Jacob Kassay - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay

    Reflecting his training as a photographer, Jacob Kassay’s silver canvases emerge from a complex process that bespeaks a mastery of technique and material that far surpass his years. Beginning by covering the surface of a canvas with an acrylic base to render it waterproof, Kassay then builds up thin layers of silver pigment to create areas of rich impasto and textured brushwork scattered throughout the canvas. Kassay then sends it out to be electroplated, a treatment process through which the elements of the work become crystallized, similar to mirror plating. The canvas develops areas of burnishing and oxidation and the unprotected edges become singed, in
    striking contrast to the silvery finish of the painting. As the results of this complex chemical process is out of Kassay’s control, each canvas is rendered unique — a mirror-like surface with beautifully imperfect irregularities.

    Similar to gelatin silver printing, the most integral component of Kassay’s work is sensitivity to light and context. Though the surface of the work is opaque, it’s partially reflective. Much like a burnished antique mirror, the surface plays more with light and movement than with accurate reflection. Each canvas ebbs between shiny and matte, smooth and textured. Technically sophisticated and visually luxurious, these works maintain a sense of the temporal and spatial within the realm of painting. Kassay’s
    paintings are informed by their surroundings, both physical and ambient. Light continuously alters the painting’s surface, illuminating and transforming it. The canvases reflect their environment — the artistic process ultimately completing itself when the painting becomes animated by its surroundings.

1

Untitled

2009
Acrylic and silver deposit on canvas.
48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm.)
Signed and dated “Kassay 09” on the reverse.

Estimate
$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $290,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 May 2011
New York