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For whatever lives in time is a present proceeding from the past to the future, and there is nothing set in time that can embrace the whole space of its life together. Tomorrow’s state it grasps not yet, while it has already lost yesterday’s; nay, even in the life of today ye live no longer than one brief transitory moment. Boethius – The Consolation of Philosophy

The relationship between now and eternity, the limits of our ability to comprehend this, as well as our attempts to overcome this human limitation are important aspects of Jill Baroff ’s work. This manifests itself in two of the artist’s key bodies of works: the Tide Drawing series, which the artist began in 2002, and the more recent body of work entitled Floating Line Drawings. The subject of Jill Baroff ’s ongoing Tide Drawing series is the constant movement of the sea; an occurrence that goes beyond temporal and spatial dimensions of human scale. The drawings begin with tide tables of different seas; datasets that map changing water levels according to date and time. This is the case in New York Harbor March 31 - April 30, 2005, a suite of 31 drawings derived from information of this same place and time. The work is a series of grids made from hairline thin lines. The ebb and flow of each day is plotted along both axes, creating a grid pattern that portrays the movement of each day’s tides. As the water reaches its zenith and nadir, the lines expand exponentially or gather closer together to reflect the height of the high and low tides. The peaks and valleys reoccur four times each day and shift approximately one hour from day to day, resulting in a shifting pattern of moving quadrants that changes for each day. In addition to these orthogonally structured drawings, the artist has also plotted the movement of the sea with concentric circles of varying scale. Here, too, the constantly changing height of the water level

determines the distance between each line. Jill Baroff ’s Tide Drawings depict a naturally occurring and constantly changing and fluctuating process turning it into an artistic form that manages to be both rigorous and poetic. Rigorous, because of the steel-like determination with which the artist follows the charted information to determine the position of her lines. This results in works that have an obvious relationship to scientific diagrams that chart natural processes such as seismic activity in a system of lines. However, in contrast to scientific diagrams, these works do not allow the viewer to draw conclusions as to their origin, as the coordination system or reference is missing. It is here that these works draw their poetic quality. Only the title of the works, and in some cases the inclusion of a date reference, give the viewer a hint as to their source. As a result of the sources being scattered across the globe – London, Chesapeake Bay, Tokyo, Gulf Coast or the Pacific, the entire Tide Drawings series can be viewed as a system that manifests itself as dynamically changing from day to day and, viewed from a broader perspective, reveals itself as being constant. The artistic possibilities within this system are far broader than one would expect from the outset. Both the decision to present the dataset as either a concentric or orthogonal drawing and the chosen timeframe to be depicted are equally important. However, once these parameters have been set, there are no more means to alter the appearance of the drawing during its creation. The path of the drawing is set at the outset by a strict system, which is predetermined by the artist.

drawing is a product of a process that is determined by the artist. Jill Baroff describes this as a kind of conversation with herself. Hence it is not only the process, but a particular state of mind, that produces these drawings and whose form was neither predetermined nor envisioned at the outset. The Floating Line drawings are an effective foil to the Tide Drawings as they complement each other. As each drawing within a series of Tide Drawings can be read as a period of time within a series of works that deal with universal, endlessly reoccurring phenomena, the Floating Line drawings can certainly be read as the product of a moment, or as Boethius describes it, a “brief transitory moment” between past and future.

Dr. Tobias Burg, curator for works on paper Museum Folkwang, Essen The original German version of this essay is available at


The freedom to alter the artist’s process is far greater in the more recent Floating Line series. Jill Baroff begins each work by drawing a border, either with graphite or oil pastel, at the edge of a sheet of Japanese gampi. The border’s width varies from drawing to drawing, but there is always a trace of the original border left on the sheet’s interior and it often remains tethered to this interior in one place, leaving the rest floating free. The cut gampi is then introduced to water where the drawing begins to take form. For a brief moment, the drawing becomes a three-dimensional object reminiscent of the artist’s early installation based works. The Floating Lines underlying technique is very much a metamorphosis: a purely constructive drawing determined by a principal is transformed by a process which allows for an element of chance as much as the artist’s intuition and experience. The variations that a drawing’s shape can take during metamorphosis offer the artist endless possibilities. The former frame is transformed by multiple folds and turns, which can produce knot-like, dense, formations. For example, in the triptych, Mechanic’s Dream, a grid of lines running across or side by side each other appears almost three-dimensional as the varying colours of the front and back of the folded border reveal the different layers of the folded shape. Other works in the series take on more geometric shapes, or crosses or intertwined loops. Here, too, the conscious decision to work with the front and back of the paper creates a striking three-dimensionality. The outcome of each

Detail: Casting and Gathering, 1998


Projected, 1997

Casting and Gathering, 1998

Beyond the Narrow Gate, 1995 Gatorfoam, metal, plaster and paint 179 x 421.6 cm

Broken Oval, 2009 Gatorfoam, wood, plastic, plaster and paint 164 x 185 cm

Mirror, 2002 Japanese gampi mounted on Wall 90 x 68 cm

Brooklyn 474, 1999 Japanese gampi mounted on Wall 88 x 63 cm


Previous Page: Wax / Wane Series, 1995 Ink on silk tissue mounted on rag Each 76.5 x 56.5 cm

Portfolio of four drawings : Four Views, 1999 Graphite on Japanese gampi mounted on rag Each 26 x 21.5 cm

Set of four drawing : Conforming Pairs BD, BR2, TL4, BR4 , 2001 Graphite on Japanese gampi Each 40.6 x 40.6 cm

New York Harbour March 31 - April 30 2005, 2005 - 06 Ink on Japanese gampi mounted on rag Each 40.6 x 40.6 cm


Series of Six Drawings : Gustav Landing, 2009 Gulf Coast East, Nome, Savannah, Chesapeake, Gulf Coast West, Honolulu Ink on Japanese gampi mounted on rag Each 49 x 49 cm

Triptych : Pacific, 2009 Ink on Japanese gampi mounted on Rag Each 49 x 49 cm

Wilma, 2010 Ink on Japanese gampi mounted on rag 105.5 x 105.5 cm

NYC Wilma, 2010 Ink on Japanese gampi mounted on rag 105.5 x 105.5 cm

Triptych : Mechanic’s Dream, 2011 Graphite on Japanese gampi mounted on rag Each 81 x 81 cm


Triptych : Mechanic’s Dream, 2011 Graphite on Japanese gampi mounted on rag Each 81 x 81 cm

Portfolio of five drawings : Stuctures, 2010 Graphite on Japanese gampi mounted on Rag Each 29 x 26 cm

Surround, 2010 Oil pastel on Japanese gampi mounted on Rag 81 x 81 cm

Cross, 2011 Graphite on Japanese gampi mounted on rag 81 x 81 cm

Crown, 2010 Graphite on Japanese gampi mounted on rag 81 x 81 cm

Swing, 2010 Oil pastel on Japanese gampi mounted on rag 81 x 81 cm

Portfolio of six drawings : Portfolio 2, 2009 Graphite and oil pastel on Japanese gampi mounted on rag Each 27.8 x 24.7 cm

Portfolio of six drawings : Portfolio 4, 2009 Graphite and oil pastel on Japanese gampi mounted on rag Each 27.8 x 24.7 cm

Born in New Jersey 1954 Lives and works in New York



1980-81 1978 1976

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005

Post Graduate Studies, Hunter College, New York Artist Seminars Program, Whitney Museum of Art, NYC BFA, Antioch University, Yellow Springs, OH

SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS 2011 2010 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2002 2002 2000 1998 1998 1998 1997 1995 1994

The Edge of the World, Bartha Contemporary, London The Moving Target, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne No Guts, No Glory, Solo Presentation with Galerie Christian Lethert at Volta NY, New York Like Things, Margarete Roeder Gallery, New York You are Here, Bartha Contemporary, London Kunstverein Grafschaft Bentheim, Neuenhaus Time_Line, Freuhsorge Galerie für Zeichnung, Berlin Tide Drawings, Brian Gross Fine Art, San Francisco Second Nature, Cristinerose/Josée Bienvenu Gallery, NYC Elementary Measurements, Gallery N. von Bartha, London Borrowed Scenery, Margarete Roeder Gallery, New York Hannover Martkirche, (Installation), Hannover Scattered Light: new drawings and digital skies, Galerie Krohn, Badenweiler, Germany. Stacked Drawings, Wynn Kramarsky, 560 Broadway, NYC Monochrome in Blue, GalleryGallery, Kyoto Casting and Gathering, Stark Gallery, New York Hales Gallery, London Kunstraum für Neue Kunst, Hannover, Germany Beyond the Narrow Gate, Stark Gallery, New York Stark Gallery, New York

Drawn/Taped/Burned: Abstraction on Paper, Katonah Museum of Art, Westchester County, NY Desires and Acquistions Contemporary Drawing, Museum Folkwang, Essen Group Show, Galerie Christian Lethert, Cologne A Gathering of Gifts: Relationships That Build Our Collections, Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK Gifts and Promised Gifts in Honor of the Contemporary Museum’s 20th Anniversary, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI Selected Drawings, Margarete Roeder Gallery, New York La Nature Morte - N’est Pas Morte! (curated by Beat Zoderer), Museum Langmatt, Baden, Switzerland ART PROTECT, Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris, France Timewarp, CRAC Alsace Centre Rhénan D’Art Contemporain, Altkirch, France Nueva York. El papel de las ultimas vanguardias, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain Drawing as Process, Museum Folkswang Essen, Essen The Solo Project with Bartha Contemporary, Basel Drawing All Over/ the Power of the Line, Kunst Im Schloss Untergroningen, Germany I Bought the Brooklyn Bridge, Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin Art and Mathematics: The Wonder of Numbers, Heckscher Museum, New York Artists against AIDS, Yvon Lambert, Paris, France Modern07, with Gallery N. von Bartha, Residenz, Munich Arbeiten auf Papier, Gallery Werner Klein, Cologne Works on Paper, Gallery N. von Bartha, London Mäzene der Kunst auf Papier, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart The Fact, Abstract, Dorsky Gallery (curated by Claire Barliant), Long Island City, NY New Work, Margarete Roeder Gallery, New York, NY Minimal Means, Kunstverein Eislingen, Eislingen Works on Paper 2005, Schmidt Contemporary Art, St. Louis, MI Four Times One from Two Thousand and Six, Fruehsorge Galarie für Zeichnung, Berlin, Germany Dating Data, Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York, NY Artists for Tsunami Relief, Phillips de Pury & Co., NYC Minimalist Art Now, Elvehjem Museum of Art, U. of Wisconsin, Madision, WI


GRANTS AND FELLOWSHIPS 2010 2009 2008 2007 2005 2001 1998 1996 1995 1994 1993, 87 1990, 88 1988

The Field Institute, Museum Insel Hombroich New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant, Lily Auchincloss Fellow The Field Institute, Museum Insel Hombroich Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation National Park Service Artist in Residence, Cape Cod National Seashore Aaron Siskind Foundation Awagami Paper Factory, Japan National Endowment for the Arts New York Foundation for the Arts National Endowment for the Arts Pollock-Krasner Foundation MacDowell Colony, Petersborough, NH National Endowment for the Arts, Mid-Atl. Arts Foundation

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS Achenbach Foundation, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, CA Alaska Museum of the North, Fairbanks, AK Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, MD Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, HI Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, OH Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, MA Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, MA Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Collection of Werner Kramarsky, New York, NY Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin, GERMANY Menil Collection, Houston, TX Museum Folkswang Essen, Essen, GERMANY Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. The Pace Collection, San Antonio, TX Progressive Insurance Co., Cleveland, OH Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, GERMANY Staedel Museum, Frankfurt, GERMANY Stiftung f端r Konkrete Kunst, GERMANY Yale University Art Museum, New Haven, CT For a complete CV and Bibliograpby please view

Published on the occasion of Jill Baroff ’s exhibition “The Edge of the World” at Bartha Contemporary 8.4. – 25.6.2011

Copyright : Jill Baroff

All images courtesy : Bartha Contemporary, London Except : Wax / Wane : Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery, New Heaven, CT Donated by Sarah-Ann + Werner H. Kramarsky, New York New York Harbour March 31 - April 30 2005 : Courtesy Museum Folkwang, Essen

Published by : Bartha Contemporary

Limited Edition 750 Copies ISBN 0-9547742-6-4


JILL BAROFF - The Edge of the World  

Published on the occasion of Jill Baroff’s exhibition“The Edge of the World” at Bartha Contemporary in London, UK 8.4. – 25.6.2011

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