On Art

From Hemosapien series, by Jordan Eagles

Jordan Eagles isn’t the first modern artist to work with blood. But he stands out for his sustained, scrupulous attention to its possibilities as a medium. The New York–based artist has long experimented with blood in vari­ous states, from painterly spatters to projections of microscopic images to crystallized chunks preserved in resin.

These formal investigations have also functioned as ethical inquiries into the types of blood, bodies, and love that we value and venerate. One recent series juxtaposes a catalog for da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, which sold for a cool half billion, with vials of blood from an HIV+ undetectable individual. Where does the real presence of Jesus reside, his icon asks, and what and who are we prepared to invest in?

Here Eagles projects images of blood, riven with tiny fissures from his signature preservation process, onto bodies tenderly holding each other. While the myriad cracks suggest brokenness and fragility, the intimate postures foster a sense of wholeness. It is as if love has fused these shards and these lives together. Like stained-glass windows, these images suffuse us in light, reminding us to take comfort in love at its most visceral, elemental level.