DECEMBER 2, 2013
Kevin Earl Taylor ‘Inner Wilderness’ at Rebekah Jacob Gallery
Currently in Charleston, South Carolina at the Rebekah Jacob Gallery, painter Kevin E. Taylor (seen with the gallery owner below) is holding a solo exhibition entitled Inner Wilderness. For this showing, the Bay Area-based artist has presented a diverse selection of large scale work including his depictions of the natural world rendered with architectural elements as well as pieces where the animals from different paintings are in communication with each other.
November 2013 | Melissa Tunstall
Kevin Taylor's newest exhibit brings back the animals
On a wall in the Rebekah Jacob Gallery appears the phrase, "We are nature, and nature is indistinguishable from us on so many levels," an idea that embodies painter Kevin Taylor's new exhibit Inner Wilderness, which features the animals that Taylor has become known for. In this latest exhibit, his animal paintings have taken on a new dimension.
Rebekah Jacob believes the realism comes from Taylor's illustration background. Taylor attended the Savannah College of Art and Design majoring in illustration and took his first painting class his senior year. He draws first, then paints, and he plays with dimensions and brush strokes.
In "Chemistry Hypnosis" you can also see the pencil outlines of another creature that Taylor decided not to paint. Jacob says that even though he'd decided against painting the animal, he felt it had become part of the work. "If you turn over the canvases, you'll see a lot of pencil marks on the back of his paintings," she adds.
Inner Wilderness encompasses numerous contradictions. The show uses neutral colors but does not appear muted. There is a lightness in the paintings, but an overwhelming sense of heaviness in the subject matter. And the majority of the subjects are animals yet are personified. It's these paradoxes that make the work so interesting.
As heavy as the subject matter is, it's not just for adults. "The children that have come in have been great. They go from painting to painting naming the animals and making up stories about them," Jacob says. It's another example of the show's duality. There's such gravity to the paintings, but there's also a sense of whimsy, which adds an interesting dynamic to the exhibit.
July 2013 | Jason A. Zwiker
Rebekah Jacob’s passion for Fine Art keeps her gallery at the top of Charleston's art scene
When her car broke down in Mississippi, she bought art.
It was what she was there to do.
This is what you must understand about Rebekah Jacob. She does not stop. Throw an obstacle in her path and she’ll simply size it up, find a way around, and keep going. So while the mechanics did their work, she did her own.
And, truth be told, when your passion is for the photography that tells the story of the American South, the Mississippi Delta isn’t such a bad place to find yourself stranded. To picture the scene, close your eyes and let your imagination soften the lines between long ago and now just a little, like a photograph intentionally left slightly out of focus. That fertile crescent of black alluvial soil remains the same. It’s just the names and the faces of the people that change over time.
Mississippi is home to Jacob. She grew up in Clarksdale, surrounded by a wealth of musical heritage and agricultural tradition. She went to Ole Miss for her education, earning a B.A. in English and M.A. in Art History. That’s where she fell in love with the work of author and photographer Eudora Welty. The sincerity and strength of those images, scenes from rural Mississippi, left an indelible impression on her.
“It’s a window for people to see what Mississippi is and how the people live,” she says. “The photography really is timeless.”
Welty’s work, along with the Depression-era photography of Walker Evans and the soul-stirring portraiture of Doris Ulmann, became the inspiration for a lifelong passion. She sought out the work of Civil Rights era and Cuban revolutionary photojournalists. The power of an image to capture the imagination and inspire change is something she understands well.
“Photography is immediate,” she says. “The photographer has to get a little bit lucky. These photographers were traveling, documenting a story in a very truthful, matter-of-fact way. The camera is very honest.”
“I want to be the Diane Sawyer of the arts,” she adds with a laugh. “I need to dig deep and see the authenticity behind the work for myself. If I can’t, it won’t be shown in the gallery.”
This work ethic is a large part of what has kept Rebekah Jacob Gallery consistently at the top of Charleston’s visual art scene. She’s always on the move. When she is not in town hosting an exclusive art event at RJG, she’s very likely acquiring, appraising, or lecturing in key cities such as New York City, Houston, Palm Beach, or Washington, DC. That mobility is essential to her business strategy.
“She’s not just sitting here in Charleston with a catcher’s mitt waiting for the artists to show up,” says business strategist Baron Hanson. “She’s jetting where she needs to be to find the artists, to meet the collectors, and to learn what is happening behind the scenes.”
That tenacity has taken her to some amazing places. She’s travelled to Cuba to see firsthand the work spaces of the revolutionary photographers she admires. Many of them were developing out of their kitchen sinks and, just the same, creating prints of phenomenal quality.
Defining Jacob is a daunting task. Imagine a top-tier curator, fine art appraiser, and Indiana Jones all rolled up into one person. Then take into account that she is a dedicated runner who often plans exhibits down to the finest detail while the miles slip by under her feet. On top of all that, add in the fact that she’s still amazingly young for someone so accomplished.
“That’s the exciting part: to have someone as young as her who can actually acquire such rare and high-valued collections,” says Hanson. “She’s come to the point, within eight years, where she can show a work like ‘Red Ceiling’ by William Eggleston.”
To put that into perspective, consider this: in the spring of 2013, copies of ‘Red Ceiling’ were held by the Museum of Modern Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum (not currently on view), and Rebekah Jacob Gallery, in Charleston. That’s not a long list.
Eggleston’s work was part of RJG’s 2013 spring show “Somewhere in the South”, a powerful exhibit that featured some of the most notable Southern photographers, including color photography pioneers Eggleston and William Christenberry.
Every artist I represent here has some connection to the South,” she says. “Another point is that they are all seasoned, professional artists.”
This is perfectly in line with her vision for art in Charleston. She wants nothing less than for the city to be recognized as a national hub for fine arts and photography.
RJG features diverse works including paintings and photography, all at the highest level of connoisseurship. Each artist represented is world-caliber, having been exhibited across the globe, and has works in museum and corporate collections.
In addition to her work in the gallery, she also offers appraisal services. The formal appraisal process is necessary for many purposes, including resale, estate planning, and insurance, and Jacob has the experience and credentials to handle this with the utmost professionalism. She holds a certificate in Appraisal Studies in Fine and Decorative Arts from New York University and is a Certified Member of the Appraisers Association of America.
Keeping all of this in balance requires constant effort. Traveling around the country isn’t just a perk of the job, it’s absolutely essential. “There’s a lot of movement in different markets right now,” explains Hanson. “Things that were once considered unattainable are starting to become available.”
When that once-in-a-lifetime grab surfaces, either you’re right there, ready to acquire it, or you’re not. Rebekah Jacob makes it a practice to be there.
June 2013 | Leah Rhyne
the ART BOOM
Charleston's Fine Art Scene Continues to Grow
The Rebekah Jacob Gallery's recent acquisition of an extremely rare print by photographer William Eggleston is a sign of the times for the Lowcountry's thriving fine art scene.
In early June at the Rebekah Jacob Gallery on Upper King Street, the curtains opened on a new show. Called Somewhere in the South, the show is a celebration of Southern photography and features works by such notable artists as William Eggleston, Richard Sexton, and William Christenberry. The highlight of the show is an exceptional Eggleston piece called "The Red Ceiling," a dye transfer print of a photograph so rarely printed that it also hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. And now it hangs here, in Charleston. Clearly, this is not your typical Charleston art show. But then, what's "typical" of art in Charleston is rapidly changing.
As the national economy improves, the art world trends upward. People with the disposable income to collect fine art are spending it again, investing in art instead of socking everything away in a retirement fund. Byrd also points out that galleries often shift, merging and moving, expanding and contracting as part of their normal growth process. That's part of the nuanced business of running an art gallery — the dealers have to balance their love of art with the ability to take risks and make decisions that make business sense. Rebekah Jacob of Rebekah Jacob Gallery agrees. "Art dealing is truly an art form in itself," she says. "It is a long process [that requires] experience, credibility, smart business, and ultimately the invitation to participate."
The benefits of risk-taking are nowhere more apparent than within the walls of the Rebekah Jacob Gallery. It's seen a significant revenue increase in the past year, due in part to the well-timed hiring of an expert in outside growth strategies. Gallery owner Rebekah Jacob brought a consultant on board to help take her gallery not just to the next level, but several levels beyond that.
Yet much of her gallery's success can be attributed to Jacob herself, who has been known to work from 8 a.m. straight through until midnight. And as the gallery's focus has shifted to professional, well-known artists and big-ticket works, so has Jacob's focus shifted to ensure that these high-end items are brought into Charleston, and, specifically, to the Rebekah Jacob Gallery. She's been on business trips to Mississippi, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington D.C. this year alone. She's also installed new security within the gallery to ensure the pieces will remain safe while temporarily housed under her roof.
The acquisition of Eggleston's "The Red Ceiling" is a massive win. Bidding on the piece begins at a modest $450,000, and she expects that it won't go unsold. Serious art collectors wait eagerly for prints of such works to go on sale, and they won't balk at the hefty price tag either.
But while it's certainly a win for the Rebekah Jacob Gallery, it's also a win for Charleston. The photograph in the gallery will draw people from all over the country, vying for a chance to view this rare work in person outside of the intimidating spaces of a huge museum. They'll likely bring in big tourism dollars, helping to bolster our rebounding local economy.
May 2013 | Eileen Fritsch
ART COLLECTING 101:
with Rebekah Jacob
Learn about the artist and the process.
Part of the joy of owning original art is telling others the story behind it. Get to know the medium in which you are interested. Visit bookstores, galleries and studios, and talk to other collectors.
“Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to talk to the artist or the gallery,” says Jennifer Jacobs, director of the Seattle Affordable Art Fair. When buying photographic or art prints on paper, she suggests learning about the different printmaking processes used: “It’s all about turning insecurity into knowledge.”
Understand how to build value.
Knowing what future collectors will want is impossible, so you can’t assume that you will be able to resell your art at a higher price later. The best way to start a collection that might appreciate in value over a long period of time is to work with reputable, knowledgeable dealers who will help you buy quality art at fair prices.
“Buy the best artwork you can afford,” advises Rebekah Jacob of the Rebekah Jacob Gallery in Charleston, S.C. “Look at the artist’s credentials, publications, exhibitions, gallery representation and collector base. The more dense the artist’s résumé, often the more solid the investment.
“Owning fine art is different than owning gold, stocks or bonds,” Jacob also emphasizes. “Art isn’t a commodity that can be liquidated quickly, and it must be cared for and displayed properly. Expenses such as storage, insurance, climate control and framing come into play.”
Some gallery clients never intend to sell the pieces they buy. Instead, they plan to pass their art down to the next generation or donate it to museums. Also, documenting details about the art can make it more attractive to potential buyers. Save all receipts, certificates of authenticity, artist statements, gallery brochures and exhibit catalogs.
Collect with conviction.
Whether you look for art online or in the physical world, approach the collecting process with passion. Your quest to discover art you love gives you fresh reasons to explore new cities, as well as opportunities to talk with artists and other creative people.
Today, the art world feels much less elitist than it has in the past, observes Ammann. “The Internet has opened doors for thousands of potential art enthusiasts. People who never felt comfortable walking into an art gallery and asking about art now can do it online.”
And once people realize original art is within their reach, it’s like a bridge, says Jacob. “Once you cross over, there’s no going back.”
April 2013 | Elizabeth Pandolfi
Monkeys, owls, and polar bears take over Rebekah Jacob Gallery
Chances are it's the monkeys that will draw you in. Part fascinating, part frightening, artist Marcus Kenney's wildly colorful monkey sculptures stand guard in the window of the Rebekah Jacob Gallery this month.
They're a striking introduction to the gallery's Southern Progressives group show, which showcases works by Kenney, Kevin Taylor, and Tarleton Blackwell. Including paintings, sculpture, and works on paper, the show brings together some of the gallery's most visually arresting pieces.
That's part of why Southern Progressives is fairly small. Though Jacob originally intended to feature more than 40 works, she ended up whittling it down to around 15. "All the pieces are so strong that I felt they each needed ample wall space," Jacob says. "And we're able to show bigger pieces, like this six-by-nine foot piece [by Taylor]."
Taylor's work is hung next to a large mixed media piece by Tarleton Blackwell, a diptych called "Cock Fight." The two roosters are practically hidden among a frenzy of lines. It's almost alive with movement. "There's this frenetic energy. He's just a genius at mark-making. His linework is incredible," Jacob says.
Kenney and Blackwell are both fairly new to Jacob's roster, and Southern Progressives is, in part, designed to introduce the public to their work. After spending years in King Street's antiques district, Jacob says her new space on Upper King has brought in a whole new demographic. "I love being here. There's such good energy up here, and the larger space has allowed me to expand as a curator."
In addition to moving to a larger physical space, the gallery has expanded its offerings over the past year as well. "We've grown tremendously," Jacob says. "We're focusing on more seasoned, professional talent, and I've hired a business strategist and a legal counsel. That has freed me up creatively."
That freedom includes the ability to become more mobile — last year, Jacob took pieces from her gallery to Washington, D.C. for the Fine Art Photography Fair, and she plans to continue taking advantage of opportunities to reach viewers in other cities.
All in all, 2013 is shaping up to be a big year for the Rebekah Jacob Gallery. Jacob is looking forward to showcasing her artists' work with more unique shows like Southern Progressives, highlighting the level of talent that she now represents. "The roster we have right now is the most solid, collectible group we've ever had," she says. "It's a really exciting time."
March 2013 | Marcus Amaker
CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR: REBEKAH JACOB
Rebekah Jacob is a busy woman. She’s a detail-oriented gallery business owner, appraiser, author, and curator. And she balances it all with a fierce focus.
“As a serious runner, most client and curation projects are devised and executed in my head while pounding the pavement, literally. During a 16-mile run last Sunday, I curated the entire spring photography exhibit right down to the finest details in my head—each photograph placement, each light bulb angle, every inch of wall text design.”
The Rebekah Jacob Gallery is a well-known space in downtown Charleston. The gallery exhibits a wide array of talented and quirky painters, photographers, and sculptors. Juggling it all can surely be a challenge, but Jacob seems to have everything in place to stay successful.
“Imagine one of those advanced jugglers with 13 balls in the air successfully. That’s my job each day as a business owner,” says Jacob. Today’s market in Charleston is constantly evolving. This is exactly why this intelligent entrepreneur decided to hire advanced business help. “Instead of a slew of inexperienced interns, I now have a business strategist, accounting strategist, and legal council. Why? The specifics of being a Gallerist—high finance, transport liability, and competitive navigation—is a challenging business to own if you don’t have experience,” she says.
Charleston’s contemporary art scene is evolving rapidly, and collectors from around the world are coming to the Lowcountry to find that perfect piece. Jacob and other gallery owners are in a perfect position to take advantage of the city’s growth.
So many progressive new leaders and CEOs now live here seasonally—as they do in Palm Beach, or the Hamptons, or the Caribbean. “Depending on how we arrange each artist and their artwork, guests and collectors sometimes forget they are in Charleston. They think for a second they are in Berlin, New Orleans, Miami, or New York. When clients forget what city they are in, that’s my proof of evolution,” she says.