Jacques Garnier

Hymns To The Silence 

Grace in isolation. This is the central theme of Jacques Garnier’s Hymns to the Silence.  The motivating factor is to create space around an object (isolated architectural elements) so it can breathe and be appreciated for what it is without any distractions. These minimal, abstracted b&w photographs dwell in the zone between report and fabrication. “I try to create the poem from the evidence,” said playwright Arthur Miller.

“Garnier’s photographs capture modernist buildings with detail and fidelity, but at the same moment are crafted, poetic fictions. They directly record but are vastly recast. Consequently, they strike an attentive viewer simultaneously as remembrance and as revelation.  By peeling away the layers, he has increasingly decided that art should not deliver a report on reality but instead look at what is behind reality. The artist seeks to transcend the subject, essentially making subject matter irrelevant. These are reductive works, images that remove the superfluous and in so doing forces the viewer to look inward, past the clutter of our normal world which distracts us, while allowing him to focus on the calmness or stillness that tends to evade us. What remains, finally, is awareness itself, a consciousness of visual perception itself which intensifies all desire for contemplation. The negative space of these deconstructed images is the pause between the notes of the music, a disruption, to make you create your own interpretation and to enjoy the silence. This emptiness allows for potential. This is an emotional quest, a spiritual journey. Perhaps Lau Tzu said it best some 2,700 years ago: “Be still. Stillness reveals the secrets of eternity.” – Arthur Miller                                                   

 Photography, as with most arts, is the exploration of a vision, a poetic interpretation of what is seen or perhaps even unseen. In seeking this essence, I have embraced a more minimalist Zen-like approach, utilizing strong graphic elements with liberal use of negative space to eliminate the clutter – the distractions in an effort to see more clearly what is before us. Once the superfluous has been removed, what is left is more open to contemplation – a meditation freed from some of the chaos that surrounds us. Dave Barton, art critic, has said that Garnier “attempts to redesign the world around him… a hopeful plea for something simpler. Most importantly, the work reveals Garnier’s unique ability to lay bare the soul trapped inside empty space.”


Born in Los Angeles with a Master’s degree in French Literature from UC Santa Barbara, Garnier’s circuitous road led him into the photographic world some 20 years ago. Since then, he has developed many projects including: “Non-Places” and “Made/Unmade” (divergent looks at man’s disconnection from the people and places in our modern society, “LA Icons” (a nostalgic view of Los Angeles unique architecture) and more recently “re[VOIR]” a black & white series utilizing negative space in an effort to encourage contemplation and introspection.

Photographer, documentarian and lecturer, the award-winning Jacques Garnier has participated in over 150 exhibitions, most recently including LACMA, Southeast Museum of Photography, the Chinese Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, China, PhotoNola and the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and has work in the Permanent Collection of many of these same museums.

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JDA 35



Field of Dreams

Un monde aÇ l’envers

The Veil and the Vault

Dancing Zips

Stepping Boldly

Jitterbug Blues

All images © Jacques Garnier


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CURATOR | Joelcy Kay