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Jacob A. Pfeiffer : Best Medicine

September 7, 2018

With an underlying acknowledgement of our current political climate, Jacob Pfeiffer’s current work simply aims to “lighten the mood” through witty visual puns and humorous wordplay. The theme of his solo show is derived from the familiar idiom, “laughter is the best medicine,” and his paintings similarly illustrate quirky words or puzzling puns.

“One of the big hang ups for someone learning English are the funny sayings we have,” says Pfeiffer. “It’s a quirk of our language that I find interesting. I like to put an image to these sayings, so you see an absurd arrangement of items that convey the same meaning.”

“Bookworm IV” conveys one of these silly phrases, as Pfeiffer paints a gummy worm dangling over a haphazard stack of books. Other pieces visually breakdown common words, foods or plant names to create a guessing game for the viewer. “Guacamole,” for instance, depicts three bowling balls suspended in mid-air above a display of tomatoes, avocadoes, jalapeno, lime and onion. Patterned and visually appealing bowling balls have been a common image for Pfeiffer recently, and here they play into the emotional levity the artist hopes to transmit through humorous compositions.

“Bleeding Hearts” is a trompe l’oeil depiction of a plucked bleeding-heart flower, which has been secured with a Band-Aid. Band-Aids are another new and recurring symbol in Pfeiffer’s work that relate to his suggested political themes. “The Band-Aids signify healing,” Pfeiffer explains. “Healing that needs to take place within ourselves and our communities. And I guess Band-Aids have become a ubiquitous part of my life since becoming a father,” he adds. “They don’t seem to do much, but they sure do help when you put one on.”

“Stars and Stripes II” is another piece of striking detail depicting an American flag that sags tiredly with wrinkled wear. “It’s the overarching idea of what’s the best medicine that we need for our country,” Pfeiffer says of this piece. “Instead of looking for things that divide us, what can bring us together? Beauty, laughter, kindness…things like that are what I’m striving for in my work.”

“Best Medicine” opens on Friday, October 5thwith a reception from 5-7pm.

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