Gerald JacksonMarch 23–May 15, 2021 East Gallery
White Columns is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Gerald Jackson (b. 1936, Chicago.) This will be the second in a series of three recent and related exhibitions that will consider different aspects of Jackson’s prolific, now six-decade career as a multi-disciplinary artist and poet. (The first of these exhibitions took place at Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba House, New York between November and January 2020/21. A third exhibition will take place this coming November at Gordon Robichaux, New York.)
Jackson’s exhibition at Kenkeleba House was a “comprehensive gathering” of his abstract ‘blue green’ paintings produced between 1980 and the present. Jackson’s preoccupation with blue and green represents a continuing “examination of color relationships and their effects on the observer.” The press release for the Kenkeleba exhibition suggested: “In what could be viewed as a meditative exercise, it is Jackson’s intent to heal using the curative properties of blue green.” Jackson’s exhibition at White Columns further explores and amplifies his ongoing interest in color and our social, emotional and psychological relationships with color in a series of large-scale text drawings and a group of related collage works produced over the past few years. Alongside these works Jackson will present a group of his functional clothing works, outfits designed, made and (for the most part) worn by Jackson. Jackson’s work in fashion was adroitly described in 2003 by the art dealer Jack Tilton as “chop and paste clothing” and as “totally brilliant three dimensional funk.”
In his recent text drawings on view at White Columns, words denoting specific colors (e.g. ‘BLACK’, ‘WHITE’, ‘BLUE’, ‘GREEN’ etc.) are written on sheets of 11” x 8 ½” typing paper that are then attached and arranged into grid-like formations and structures. Suggesting a kind of language-based abstraction, or perhaps a textual description of an abstract ‘image’, Jackson’s staccato-like drawings oscillate between a form of concrete poetry and something closer to a musical or lyrical score. (One work reads: “BLACK / WHITE / WHITE / BLACK / WHITE / WHITE / BLACK / WHITE / BLACK / WHITE / BLACK / WHITE / BLACK / WHITE / BLACK / WHITE / BLACK / WHITE / BLACK / BLACK.”) In his recent figurative collage works, from the ongoing series Divine Providence, aspects of Jackson’s biography – including self-portrait images – are juxtaposed with his own writings and poetry, found images and symbols, and occasional fragments of musical scores: including both Mozart’s and Ornette Coleman’s. (Jackson had a solo exhibition in 1974 at his friend Ornette Coleman’s space Artists House at 131 Prince Street, New York.) In two recent visceral drawing works Jackson has detourned the iconic image of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, effectively erasing the central figure with charcoal and oil stick.
Gerald Jackson (b. 1936, Chicago) currently lives and works in Jersey City, NJ. Jackson’s history was outlined in an expansive – and essential – 2012 interview with his friend, the artist Stanley Whitney that was published as a part of BOMB magazine’s ongoing ‘Oral History Project’, which is available on BOMB’s website. After a stint in the army in the early 1960s, where he further developed his skills as a marksman, Jackson relocated from his native Chicago to New York’s Lower East Side, where he encountered and became a part of a community of vanguard artists and jazz musicians centered around Slugs’ Saloon, a now legendary jazz club on East 3rd Street that was active from the mid-1960s to 1972. After earlier studies at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute and then later at The Brooklyn Museum School, Jackson started to exhibit his own work from the mid- 1960s onwards and was represented by New York’s Allan Stone Gallery from 1968 to 1990. He has had exhibitions at Strike Gallery, Rush Arts (curated by Jack Tilton), Gallery 128, Tribes, and Wilmer Jennings Gallery-Kenkeleba, among others. His work has been included in a number of key group exhibitions including: ‘Afro-American Artists: New York and Boston’, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1970); ‘Black Artists: Two Generations’, Newark Museum, Newark (1971); ‘Jus’ Jass: Correlations of Painting and Afro-American Classical Music’, Kenkeleba Gallery, New York (1983); ‘The Black and White Show’, curated by Lorraine O’Grady, Kenkeleba Gallery, New York (1983); ‘Notation on Africanism’, Archibald Arts, New York (1995); ‘Something To Look Forward To’, curated by Bill Hutson, Phillips Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA (2004), and ‘Short Distance To Now – Paintings from New York 1967-1975’, Galerie Thomas Flor, Dusseldorf, Germany (2007), among others. Jackson’s 1973 illustrated artist’s book of seventy-nine linoleum cuts ‘Adventures in Ku-Ta-Ba Wa-Do’ is in the collection of both the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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