Colter Jacobsen Gathers an Expansive Sense of 'Now' at Anglim Gilbert

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Installation view of 'hour fault' at Anglim Gilbert Gallery.  (Courtesy of Anglim Gilbert Gallery)

There are so many delicate details in Colter Jacobsen’s work—a collection of recent graphite drawings, watercolor paintings, collages and assemblages—it feels almost sacrilegious to view them during a busy opening. Thankfully for audiences visiting between now and Sept. 28, that moment has passed.

The local artist’s solo exhibition at San Francisco’s Anglim Gilbert Gallery, punnily titled hour fault, is a show of meticulous gestures on materials the gallery describes as “close at hand”: the Sunday funnies, a book cover, faded construction paper, strips of cardboard.

That sense of immediacy is present in the subject matter as well. In a series the artist calls “Now” paintings, Jacobsen renders the “o” in “now” as a spiraling, multi-colored whorl. Sometimes he mirrors it, sometimes it appears alone; he throws a giant washy one straight up onto the gallery wall. A cyclical sense of life and loss, aloneness and togetherness pervades the exhibition. In a corner, a beautiful still life called Bouquet for K.K. memorializes the late Kevin Killian.

Colter Jacobsen, 'Now (I),' 2018.
Colter Jacobsen, 'Now (I),' 2018. (Courtesy of Anglim Gilbert Gallery)

But there’s also lightness in hour fault. The two doorways to the Minnesota Street Project gallery are flanked by popsicle sticks bearing the same corny joke—one “real,” the other a watercolor on wood replica. “How does the ocean greet the beach?” they read. “It waves.”

A series of photographs lining a ragged cardboard shelf document “stains” found on city streets and sidewalks, the amorphous shapes taking on different personalities beside one another. And there’s an interactive element (though I was too timid during the Saturday crush to give it a try): a gramophone-like apparatus that looks like it plays both sides of Yes’ 1971 album Fragile at the same time—that is, if you turn the pencil that doubles as a handle.


Jacobsen’s desire to convey variable speeds of movement, looking and making finds summation in a recording that accompanies the exhibition, “Nature Boy (the L of HOLLYWOOD).” In it, a droning reminiscent of a foghorn combines with a bit of everyday atmospheric sound. Feet crunch along a path, hikers chatter as they make their way up to the Hollywood sign. But that bass tone is actually a flute playing “Nature Boy,” slowed down “to a speed that the trees might perceive.”

In Jacobsen’s work, “now” doesn't mean quickly or slap-dash. “Now” can stretch infinitely in all directions, loop languidly, and be revisited—like a drawing made once with one hand, and again with the other.