|Jordan Eagles, BAR 1-9 (detail of BAR 5). 2009. Image courtesy of the artist|
Jordan Eagles: BLOOD / SPIRIT will end its run at Saint Louis University Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) Friday, June 28. New York artist Jordan Eagles combines bovine blood with Plexiglas, UV resin, copper, gauze and other media to produce arresting works that both fascinate and challenge audiences. Art critic Jessica Baran describes the exhibition — the first time Eagles' work has been shown in St. Louis — as "ideally realized" and says that "the work does much to re-imagine MOCRA as an exhibition environment — encouraging new ways of seeing the space, both conceptually and physically."
Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, through May 12. From May 14 through June 28, museum hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Admission is free, though there is a suggested donation of $5, or $1 for students and children. Call 314-977-7170 or visit mocra.slu.edu for more information.
About the exhibition
Jordan Eagles began using and preserving animal blood as a way to explore the connections between life, death, body, spirit and the universe. Traditional red paint fell short of expressing the emotional vitality that Eagles sought, so he ventured to local slaughterhouses. But the works he created changed shade as the blood oxidized, causing Eagles to develop a means of suspending and encasing the blood in Plexiglas and UV resin in a way that permanently retains the organic material's natural colors, patterns and textures. His innovative technique challenges nature by preventing the works from decomposing.
MOCRA is pleased to present for the first time in St. Louis these arresting works that both fascinate and challenge audiences. Eagles' use of blood evokes reflections on the corporeal and the spiritual, on the scientific and the mystical, on mortality and regeneration. In MOCRA's unique former chapel space, the potency of these themes becomes particularly acute.
Even the very processes by which Eagles prepares his medium show a ritualistic sensibility. He uses various mark-making methods, including layering the blood at different densities as well as heating, burning and aging the material. Copper, an electrical conductor, imparts a fiery energy to some works. Loosely woven gauze saturated with blood and encased in Plexiglas echoes burial cloths and ancient wrapping rituals. In some instances, decomposed blood is ground into dust and tossed into the works as a sign of passing and change. Eagles also creates immersive "blood illumination" pieces in which transparent preserved blood works are projected onto the walls. The MOCRA exhibition includes examples of all of these techniques. Highly textural and dimensional works, most incorporating copper, are presented in MOCRA's side chapel galleries, while a site-specific installation of "blood illumination" pieces are projected onto the walls and ceiling of MOCRA's balcony gallery. The centerpiece is the massive nine-panel, 32-foot-wide installation, BAR 1-9, on display in MOCRA's central nave gallery.
About the artist
Jordan Eagles received his bachelor in fine arts/media studies from New York University's Gallatin School for Individualized Studies in 1999. Eagles has been profiled in TIME, The New York Times, New York Magazine, FRAME, ArtInfo.com, and The Huffington Post, and his work is found in numerous private and public collections, including the Peabody Essex Museum (Salem, Mass.), the Princeton University Art Museum (Princeton, N.J.), the University of Michigan Museum of Art (Ann Arbor, Mich.), the Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover, Mass.) and the Everson Museum (Syracuse, N.Y.).
His work has been shown at venues including the University of Michigan Museum of Art, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art (Hartford, Conn.), the High Museum (Atlanta, Ga.), the Elmhurst Museum (Elmhurst, Ill.), the Mobile Museum of Art (Mobile, Ala.), Trinity Museum at Trinity Church, Wall Street (New York), the International Museum of Surgical Science (Chicago) and most recently at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, N.J.) and the Everhart Museum (Scranton, Penn.). Eagles will be having solo exhibitions at The Mutter Museum (Philadelphia, Penn.) and The Everson Museum of Art (Syracuse, N.Y.) in September 2013.
About the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA)
Saint Louis University's Museum of Contemporary Religious Art (MOCRA) is the world's first interfaith museum of contemporary religious and spiritual art. Officially opened in 1993, MOCRA is dedicated to the ongoing dialogue between contemporary artists and the world's faith traditions. Located in a spacious chapel that was used for over 35 years by Jesuits studying philosophy at Saint Louis University, MOCRA offers a unique, meditative setting for the display of its permanent collection and changing exhibitions. MOCRA's exhibitions demonstrate the range of contemporary religious and spiritual artistic expression, presenting the work of artists of regional, national and international stature.