The Art of Science: The Bloody Brilliance of Jordan Eagles

Life Force, 2012

Life Force, 2012

I get no kick from old bones
Nails, skin and hair
No, I really don’t care
Just give me that trickle, that flood
‘Cause I get a kick out of blood.

OK, so maybe that’s not quite how that song goes.  I was inspired by bravura bloodwork of this week’s Art of Science pick, Jordan Eagles.

Blood is a both a naturally beautiful substance and a potent symbol for life and death. Eagles gets animal blood from a slaughterhouse and encases it in plexiglass and resin, which permanently preserves the organic material’s natural colors, patterns, and textures.  He works with a variety of techniques, including layering the blood at different densities as well as heating, burning, and aging it. He sometimes adds copper to the blood or uses blood-soaked gauze as a textural element.  Eagles also sometimes dries the blood and then uses the resulting powder in his paintings or sculptural works.

Are you getting the picture here? Guy works with blood. Lots and lots of blood. Buckets of blood. Not surprisingly, the themes of many of his pieces revolve around regeneration, transformation, death and its rituals. Perhaps less obvious is the theme of his current show, Red Giant, at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey.  The show’s curator explains, “The exhibition title refers to a luminous giant star in its final phase of evolution—what our Sun will become in five billion years—while also referencing the intense, potent color of blood. The abstract patterns and forms in the works suggest solar storms, sunspots, craters, meteorites and celestial explosions, as well as organs of the body. Red Giant draws an effective parallel between the inner and outer worlds of human bodies and heavenly bodies, and invites each of us to contemplate our own place in the Universe. “

The Red Giant exhibit runs until March 24 at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. Another solo show of Jordan Eagles’ work, at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art in St. Louis, MO, is open until May 12. You can see more of the artist’s work on his website.

Photo: Visual Arts Center of NJ

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