JAC LAHAV

 
Artwork
Sea Wind of Night, 2022
Sea Wind of Night, 2022

Acrylic, Flashe and 24k gold leaf on canvas 36 x 48 in.

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Foundation, 2022
Foundation, 2022

Paper mache, Flashe, acrylic, rope wire and felt 4 x 10 x 10 in.

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Memorial Day (Vessel), 2022
Memorial Day (Vessel), 2022

Paper mache, Flashe and mixed media 28 x 7 x 7 in.

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Sea Wind of Night, 2022
Sea Wind of Night, 2022

Acrylic, Flashe and 24k gold leaf on canvas 36 x 48 in.

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Biography
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For over ten years, Jac Lahav has nurtured their artistic community via artist projects, salons, and curating shows.  As a result, community, and the concept of personal versus public histories manifest as themes in Lahav’s paintings, installations, and sculpture.  Therefore, it seemed only natural that in 2019 Lahav expanded their community-oriented journey and became a foster parent. Welcome to the Jungle explores this journey using plant forms and cosmic abstracts to better understand alternative forms of parenting, nurturing, and growth. In a rich blue space reminiscent of Jac Lahav’s Mediterranean childhood home, the artist tells a story of a parental gardener tending an unruly jungle, a placeholder for their recent experience as a foster parent.

The deep blue forms permeating this exhibition reference Lahav’s birthplace of Jerusalem, Israel, and act as an homage to the artist’s familial memory. As such, Lahav states, “I have spent my career exploring what it means to belong, both in the public and private arenas.” This desire for understanding and want for a larger family and community led to the artist and their wife starting a family of their own.  However, like so many of their generation, this was a journey met with the struggles of infertility.  

 

They were able to bring a biological child into the world but ultimately knew they wanted to nurture more children and thus began a journey into the foster care system. Lahav’s attempt to process the hardships of parenthood plays a large role in this complex body of work.  

 

Lahav’s plant forms reflect memory, growth, propagation, and adversity. The pervasive vines represent the common Pothos, a jungle vine, that survives in many domestic conditions but in its native environment thrives to become a towering plant.  Its name is derived from a Greek god of love, but a similar word Pathos means to learn from experience, especially that of hardship. Lahav says “Finding moments of joy in adversity is a constant struggle, life as a foster parent is a constant attempt to do “good enough” while understanding that life is ephemeral, subject to hardship and change.”

 

The figurative work within the show speaks to Lahav’s accomplished portraiture, namely their celebrated series exploring group identity, 48 Jews, The Great Americans.  Here Lahav highlights animal portraits, signaling the concept of alloparenting, a common practice in the animal world where species, such as the Black Backed Jackal, takes care of offspring that are not biologically theirs.  

 

Lahav’s inclusion of abstract painting creates a macro-cosmic view of their emotional processing, divided by simple golden lines that reference their study of Kintsugi Pottery (the Japanese art of repairing broken vessels with gold). Zooming in upon these abstracted maps one can imagine finding a verdant jungle populated by plants, animals, and an artist caretaker nurturing a chaotic physical and emotional growth. It is also not lost on the artist that the idea behind Kintsugi is to treat breakage, and in turn repair, as part of the object and not something to cover up, a direct reference to the artist’s own familial trauma and journey.  

 

Through realism and abstraction, Welcome to the Jungle questions internal and external identity with faux plants, animal portraiture and abstract maps meditating on Lahav’s exploration of what it means to nurture others. Their work layers history in both concept and paint, the narratives Lahav tells blur the lines of fact and fiction while remaining cloaked in blue nostalgia and the sentimental. 

 

Abshalom Jac Lahav was born in Jerusalem, Israel and currently lives in Lyme, Connecticut. They graduated with an MFA from Brooklyn College and have been awarded many solo museum exhibitions. Lahav has an upcoming show in 2023 at the Slater Museum in Connecticut and a recent exhibition of The Great Americans at Connecticut’s Florence Griswold Museum in 2019 where they also received a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Association. Their work can be found in multiple public collections throughout the US including the Jewish Museum, NY; Florence Griswold Museum, Lyme CT; Longview Museum of Fine Art, Longview, TX,, Jewish Museum, Milwaukee, WI, and Saginaw Art Museum, Saginaw MI, to name a few.

 
Curriculum Vitae
 
Available Artwork