JTF (juts the facts): A total of 13 works, displayed against white walls in the front and back gallery spaces. All of the works include archival inkjet prints, along with a variety of other materials (stretchers, vinyl, gesso tape, gel, thread, embossed paper, film transparencies, polyester mesh, brass grommets, and leather) and were made in 2013 or 2014. Physical dimensions range from 8×11 to 84×67 (or reverse) and each of the works is unique. (Installation shots below.)
Comments/Context: An unfinished painting or sculpture is something we’ve become used to seeing. It reminds us of the intermediate developmental states an artwork goes through, and of the artistic process of deciding when a work is done or whether it will intentionally be allowed to remain in flux. While there are of course plenty of process steps in photography, we typically don’t think about photographic images as being unfinished; unedited or unretouched perhaps, but once printed, generally not open for much reconsideration. Like it or not, the shutter click generally defines a single moment.
Jude Broughan’s artworks attempt to unravel that precision. Starting with a mix of stock commercial photographs (a baked potato, a series of pina colada garnishes) and offhand snapshots (a hand holding a saucer, a pot in silhouette), she works to break down their representational meaning using a broad selection of physical interruptions. The photographs are cut into angles, or printed out on transparency film and sewn together in reoriented strips. These images are then incorporated into large wall sculptures, where stretchers provide a frame and neon plastic, polyester mesh, and colored leather are roughly adhered to the mix. Tape, thread, and slippery gel connect the layers with a sense of gestural, in progress immediacy.
The result is a set of works that pull toward abstraction but don’t quite get there, leaving us dislocated in the middle. An image starts us in one direction (a construction site, a car on a road), only to be distracted and undermined by a bright geometric area of color or a cut out hole. That innate desire of photography to communicate is frustrated, postponed by a detour into purposefully incomplete abstract improvisation. None of these works converges, and that undercurrent of dissonance is part of what I found of interest here. Broughan is taking the photograph as object and then systematically breaking it down, indefinitely postponing our normal resolution.
Collector’s POV: The works in this show are priced between $800 and $4000, generally based on size. Broughan’s work has little secondary market history, so gallery retail remains the best/only option for those collectors interested in following up.