Jeremy Blake

Digital artist, Painter – American


jeremy blake

Jeremy Blake (1971 - 2007) was an American digital artist and painter of recognized accomplishment and promise. His work included projected DVD installations, Type C prints, and collaborative film projects. His artistic achievements and career were fast on the rise. He was considered influential and iconoclastic. Sadly, Blake committed suicide in July 2007 in New York City one week after his beloved companion of 12 years, Theresa Duncan, committed suicide--the reasons for which remain open only to conjecture.

A graduate of the both School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFA '93) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA 95), he was selected for the Whitney Biennial in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Blake first garnered attention in the late 1990s with his large-scale, semi-abstract digital C-prints that rendered the appearance of being paintings and photographs, but were neither. He then began to animate sequences of such images to create continuously looping digital video works that emulated paintings and film, but were neither. His visually dense images often incorporated both abstract and representational expressions through the language of Modernism and voices of Film Noir. Blake's aesthetically stylized works addressed a range of subjects from violence and terrorism to glamour and decadence, from metaphors of architectural spaces to profiles of cultural personifications.

Blake's works have been exhibited internationally. They were included in three Whitney Biennials, are represented in twelve museum collections, and are a topic of dissertations and textbooks. He is widely acclaimed as a pioneer in merging the traditions of painting with a new digital world. He created hybrids of new media works, new genres, and a new kind of art experience. He made "paintings" that were digital prints and films that were "moving paintings". He was an innovator who opened doors to how others will express themselves long into the future. Blake continued to challenge our expectations, as well as his own. He dissolved the distinction between object and time-based art while combining abstraction and representation in fresh and exciting ways. He used the most eloquent of formal vocabularies to illustrate hidden stories, present cinematic portraits and portray social perspectives. He was a narrative abstractionist who embraced history, pop culture, biography and fiction, and he always made things to be beautiful. His works are seductive; his subjects are provocative; his meanings are profound.

His Winchester series, inspired by the story of Sarah Winchester and the Winchester Mystery House, was shown at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005. He also was selected to participate in the Renaissance Society group exhibition, All the Pretty Corpses, in 2005. Blake also created the painted abstract hallucination scenes in the 2002 Paul Thomas Anderson film Punch-Drunk Love, and contributed artwork and video for Beck's album Sea Change. Blake was also involved in creating and commissioning a soundtrack album called The Forty Million Dollar Beatnik with Neil Landstrumm and Mike Fellows in 2000 on Scandinavia Records and Pork Salad Press to accompany an LA drawings/script show by Blake of the same title. His work is held in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, NY; the Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, KS and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA.