The Cave Series

Autumn oil and print on canvas 35.5 x 35.5” 2019   Artist’s Note: I designed and painted the yellow, green, and brown pattern based on children’s (and one adult’s) drawings of leaves. The drawings were by my God-Daughter, Autumn Harget (for whom the painting is named), Ally and Lydia Hedman, and Kathleen Cao. Thanks to those artists for their contributions! Second, this is the first painting in which I painted on a print of leaves that I had painted previously (from my paintings The Cave, Carol, and Waiting).

Autumn
oil and print on canvas
35.5 x 35.5”
2019

Artist’s Note: I designed and painted the yellow, green, and brown pattern based on children’s (and one adult’s) drawings of leaves. The drawings were by my God-Daughter, Autumn Harget (for whom the painting is named), Ally and Lydia Hedman, and Kathleen Cao. Thanks to those artists for their contributions! Second, this is the first painting in which I painted on a print of leaves that I had painted previously (from my paintings The Cave, Carol, and Waiting).

Waiting oil on canvas 15 x 15” 2019

Waiting
oil on canvas
15 x 15”
2019

Carol oil on canvas 18 x 18" 2018

Carol
oil on canvas
18 x 18"
2018

Tacky oil on canvas 20 x 16” 2019  Artist’s Note: The challenge I gave myself here was to come up with a traditionally low-brow subject matter and paint it so lovingly and appealingly that viewers would be moved. Thanks to Chelsea Combs for allowing me to use a reference photo of marijuana that she photographed.

Tacky
oil on canvas
20 x 16”
2019

Artist’s Note: The challenge I gave myself here was to come up with a traditionally low-brow subject matter and paint it so lovingly and appealingly that viewers would be moved. Thanks to Chelsea Combs for allowing me to use a reference photo of marijuana that she photographed.

Sweet Sorrow oil on found material 12 x 16”  2018

Sweet Sorrow
oil on found material
12 x 16”
2018

Adult Coloring Book oil on canvas 18 x 22" 2018

Adult Coloring Book
oil on canvas
18 x 22"
2018

The Cave oil on canvas 24 x 24" 2017

The Cave
oil on canvas
24 x 24"
2017

Ginny and Tommy oil on canvas 18 x 24” 2018

Ginny and Tommy
oil on canvas
18 x 24”
2018

Fake Flowers oil on canvas 20 x 16" 2018  Artist’s Note: This painting was installed in large-scale reproduction at the Pittsburgh International Airport. See the Installations tab above. The profit from the sale of the original painting was donated to Detention Watch Network, an organization that protects the human rights of immigrants.

Fake Flowers
oil on canvas
20 x 16"
2018

Artist’s Note: This painting was installed in large-scale reproduction at the Pittsburgh International Airport. See the Installations tab above. The profit from the sale of the original painting was donated to Detention Watch Network, an organization that protects the human rights of immigrants.

Ecstasy oil on canvas 18 x 24" 2017

Ecstasy
oil on canvas
18 x 24"
2017

Dark Days Oil on Canvas 40.25 x 50 inches (102 x 127 cm) 2017

Dark Days
Oil on Canvas
40.25 x 50 inches (102 x 127 cm)
2017

Waiting to Be Born Again Oil on Canvas 31 x 34 inches 2017

Waiting to Be Born Again
Oil on Canvas
31 x 34 inches
2017

Odalisque  Oil on Canvas  31 x 74 inches (79 x 189 cm) 2016

Odalisque
Oil on Canvas
31 x 74 inches (79 x 189 cm)
2016

Since mid-2016 Sarah Jacobs  has worked on a series of paintings that she named The Cave after Plato’s allegory. In the story the characters grow up in a cave, chained to face only the wall. Behind them people and objects pass by. The prisoners believe that the shadows that are cast on the wall by a fire are the actual objects or people and that these shadows are the only things that exist in the world. One person escapes, leaves the cave, and sees the world illuminated by sunlight. That person realizes that the shadows were not the things themselves. When the escapee returns to the cave to educate the other prisoners they do not believe what they are told.

Jacobs paints these works with varying degrees of realism within each. Human-designed repeating patterns exist against much more realistically rendered subjects, such as ivy, flowers, or animal bodies. These appear real, compared to the flatter-looking patterns, but they are another level of deception, because they are in fact not real. The paintings are new objects in themselves that trick the viewer by successfully mimicking extant objects by comparing them to that which is less realistic, the patterns.

In some of the paintings (Odalisque, Dark Days, Fake Flowers, Carol, The Cave, and Adult Coloring Book) this is clear. In other paintings the realistic elements are hidden, by the similar background colors in Ecstasy, and by their tiny size in Waiting to be Born Again. In that painting eleven caterpillars and chrysalises are hidden within the picture plane, Where's Waldo-style. In Ecstasy look for the overlapping fern on the left-hand side of the painting, and for the small stems and leaves that are a little over one fifth of the way across the painting moving from right to left, and vertically mid-painting. One painting is named after the series, The Cave. The background pattern in that painting is not a pattern at all. Instead it is a depiction of the same ivy broken down into its simplest forms, dark and light, to resemble a shadow. Coincidentally (or perhaps not) Jacobs has been using cave interiors as inspirations for painting compositions long before beginning The Cave series.