Tracy Jager, the fifth stage of sleep, 8X8in., Collage
Vancouver based artist Tracy Jager makes collages that are rich with poetic ambiguity. Using imagery from the 1960’s and 70’s, her collages draw from historical and contemporary realist art movements. Themes of work/activity, human relationship with the environment and transportation, both literal and figurative, are apparent in her work.
Like the 1960’s collage work of Richard Hamilton, Jager’s collages frequently depict human figures in a naturalistic figure/ground relationship. Figures exist in more or less sensible spatial relationship to one another within the pictorial environment. The pictorial environment, a conflation of landscape images recombined with elegant formal cohesion, create a dream-like context for the figures within. The figures are often engaged in some type of work or activity rendered indistinct by their strange surroundings.
There is a preponderance of pronouns in Jager’s titles suggesting that the depicted figures are her subjects with whom she wishes the viewer to identify. Perhaps the surrealism of the landscape is a result of the work enacted by Jager’s subjects, or perhaps in spite of it. Still a more interesting notion supported by the work is that the landscape is reflective of the mental states of the subjects brought on by an involvement with their activities. A strength of Jager’s collages is that they pose more questions than they seek to answer.
Similar to the figures in the paintings of Neo Rauch, who are also involved in some ambiguous yet seemingly purposeful endeavor, Jager’s subjects seem at ease within the disjuncture around them. That Jager utilizes images from the 1960’s and 70’s further distances the subjects of her work from contemporary reality. As with Rauch, this retro feel harkens to social realism, though the connection is less overt than in Rauch’s work.
Various modes of transportation are presented in the collages. Cars, trucks and boats assume the same naturalistic figure/ground relationship as the subjects of the work. These vehicles could refer literally to travel and work, or more likely they function on a metaphorical level and refer to a movement of the mind.
Tracy Jager’s collages can bear many satisfying interpretations, from a purely formal read to the more allegorical. Whatever other interpretation, the collages all seem to allude to Karma Yoga, or a state of transcendence brought on by total immersion in an activity for the sake of itself.
See more collages in Tracy’s shop living feral.