Lombard Freid Projects is pleased to present From the Bellona Museum of Natural History, Jacob Feige’s third
solo exhibition at the gallery. A new series of paintings, drawings and sound-sculptures continues Feige’s
study of the American landscape, going beyond his fundamental fascination with land that has been abstracted
through human development. The specific geographical depictions that inspire Feige’s geometric interruptions
of thought, movement and light are brought to a new place within the artist’s creativity where time and space
have lost continuity.
Feige cites two central sources for inspiration; the 1974 best seller Dhalgren by science fiction author Samuel
Delany and the iconic murals by paleontological reconstruction artist Charles R. Knight, the painter that
shaped the way prehistoric life is represented today. From the Bellona Museum of Natural History is a series of
works taken from the fictional city of Bellona, the post apocalyptic American city that Dhalgren is set in. Feige
created the series through his speculations on the prehistory of Bellona, a nearly abandoned city and site of
aimless exploration, violence and supernatural occurrences. The results are simultaneously scientific and
fictional, encouraging the viewer to consider a forgotten history of a time that never really was.
Feige combines the information of Bellona provided in Delany’s writing with history of the Americas to create
work that he imagines would be found in the Bellona Museum of Natural History. Preparations for this
exhibition took Feige from the Ocala National Forest in Florida, to the Colorado Rockies and the Patagonia
Mountain range in Chile, among other locations. The landscapes and histories of both North and South
America are folded together as strange inversions of one another, producing uncanny imagery of unknown
histories. Time is also broken down within the works as Feige allows animals from different epochs to interact
on the same plane. In Dire Wolf Rift the North American Dire wolf, a South American Manned wolf and an
American Alsatian dog, bred to look like the now extinct Dire wolf, all walk together. This painting directly
echoes a restoration in which Knight characterized the same Dire wolf in the early 20th century.
Installed to mimic the education wing of a now forgotten museum; old oak frames, cloth wall coverings and
photo-copied flyers all sit together, collecting dust and giving little information away. References to the hunt
for meat suggest that these prehistoric humans are to be looked at as the original consumers, but the didactic
printouts interspersed throughout the installation shed little factual light, generating further uncertainty instead.
Sound sculptures project pseudo-scientific narratives and the imagined calls of extinct animals with ambient
music playing through reel-to-reel audio tracks. This archaic presentation lends itself to the already
unexplained disposition generated by the paintings.
This general ambiguity of aestheticized science is Feige’s focus in his study of Bellona. He utilizes the
uncertainty of science and the tangibility of art to make the viewer question this manufactured reality, all the
while withholding a clear answer. American author William Gibson famously referred to Dhalgren as a "riddle
that was never meant to be solved” and it is in this way that Feige most clearly embodies the history of the city
of Bellona with the tradition of art.
There will be a special musical performance by Feige’s collaborator Keith Freund the night of the opening
reception. Freund is a member the two-person band Trouble Books, and sometimes collaborator of Mark
McGuire of Emeralds. Feige’s work will also be on view in The Death of Affect at Art Blog Art Blog, 508
West 26th St, from October 14-October 26. Other recent exhibitions include The Ultimate Painting,
Movement, Worcester, UK; In Between, Chambers Fine Art, Beijing, China.
A limited edition 12” LP of the audio by Jacob Feige and Keith Freund will be available for sale.
This project was supported in part by the Rhode Island School of Design PTFA Technical Development Fund.