Jacques Jarrige was born into a Parisian family of art collectors and scientists in 1962. In his youth, growing up in neighborhood of St. Germain, he was struck by the intensity of the African sculptures on display in the many neighborhood galleries. How could they evoke such reaction deep inside; how could such seemingly simple objects emanate so much power? It was a question that stuck with him. As a young man, he enrolled in the department of architecture at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts but was frustrated in the narrow scope of the program. While he liked the functional aspects, he chafed at the monotony of the forms taught. Driven by the urge to make things with his hands, he abandoned the school in favor of making functional sculpted design objects. His interest in spatial relations led him to courageous explorations of void and volume in his art and design. The works of Moore and Calder, as well as the furniture of George Nakashima and Alexandre Noll, encouraged him to trust his intuition and reveal the forms that he sensed within his reach.
Instead of pursuing a decorative approach, he engaged in an ongoing dialogue with humble materials that he created — a practice he became known for — patiently shaping, carving, and altering them with simple hand tools. No master plan or elaborate drawing ever stood between him and the wood or metal that spoke to him, to his body. Each physical gesture informs the next, until the final piece emerges, embodying every gesture and impetus that brought the works into being, with a quiet meditative focus that the slow process of the craft demands.
In 1991, Jarrige was invited to join Frederic de Luca’s influential avant-garde gallery "En Attendant Les Barbares." Recognizing his exceptional sensibility, de Luca encouraged Jarrige to relentlessly pursue his own voice. He began to show regularly in Europe, and found a devoted audience. The work of this period was primarily sculptural furniture and design objects. He found success combining his direct and meticulous process with a growing vernacular of organic and flowing shapes. In 2010, he gained representation by Valerie Goodman Gallery, and since then his objects have become increasingly more free and dynamic — his furniture seems like drawings in space, while his wood, aluminum and brass sculptures have reached a new monumentality without losing their fine-boned elegance. With Valerie Goodman Gallery, Jarrige has had four solo exhibitions and shown work globally, garnering new attention and kudos. During this period, Jarrige started to experiment with small jewelry as a way to stay busy while away from his studio. The work was a new form for Jarrige but speaks the same language as his grander objects, on an intimate scale. He began to work directly with the human body as a uniquely challenging physical space, developing new forms to unify the lines and movements of the wearer’s body. These striking bands and pendants of energetically hammered metal feel more like intimate companions than ornaments. They evoke the sepals, petals, and stamen of flowers; pushing and focusing attention and interest to the wearer. These explorations in jewelry quickly informed new larger works, and instilled an approach in his work that had not been there before.
Jarrige began working less in the realm of design and furniture and found he was free to truly explore the vagaries of pure abstraction. The new abstract works became the dominant impetus for his practice. Shows then came in quick succession between 2015 and 2018: large scale sculptures were installed in the French Consulate in New York, at the Queens Museum in two exhibitions curated by Vida Sabbaghi, in a municipal community center outside Paris, and in private residences and experimental art spaces. His work has been published in a number of magazines, most recently in AD, Elle Décor, Coté Paris, House Beautiful, The World of Interiors, and the Wall Street Journal.
SOLO PUBLIC SPACE EXHIBITIONS
2017 Rockland Center for the Arts, "Outdoor Sculptures: Curves #1, #2, #3” - West Nyack, NY