Frank Jackson: There/There

June 18 - October 10, 2022

Frank Jackson’s exhibition combines memory, improvisation, and the residue of materials that are time-sensitive and fragile to generate abstract landscape paintings. This act of place/space-making references both an interior time and space (e.g., recurring memories, imagination, mortality) as well as an invitation to pause, contemplate, and commune in the here and now.

Using the medium of fresco to set the conditions of his engagement, Jackson applies an intonaco (a thin, final layer of lime) to a burlap cloth substrate and then works within the durational constraint of this fast-drying material to embed gestures into the surface of each work. Each active mark uncovers poignant moments within the residue left to crystallize. This curing process has a different relationship to surface and time scale than oil or egg tempera painting, both processes that Jackson also employs in his work. The surface of the fresco pieces, and the way the burlap substrate is revealed in some areas of the composition and untouched in others, center the delicate nature of this process and the playful yet urgent way these works are constructed.

There/There is a body of work that has been made over the past few years in concert with other kinds of painting and material concerns happening in Jackson’s studio. The thread that binds these projects together is Jackson’s refusal to represent bodies in a figurative way. This intention is a deeply personal one, catalyzed by a confrontation with mortality 36 years ago that compelled him to develop a visual lexicon that aligns more authentically with his lived experiences. Fracture, buoyancy, and vibrancy are some of the visual strategies Jackson uses to ask himself and us, “Where am I, where are you, where do we meet, and what residues do we bring?” Jackson is an empathic maker dedicated to building spaces that carry his translations of the lived world into the felt world.

— Michael Jevon Demps, Guest Essayist

To say “there, there” is both to console and to exclaim the earthbound: a place, one’s place. The understory of this show’s title points toward what I’m searching for in my work: a material transformation of the lived to the imagined and the creation of an empathetic connection. These paintings continue my interest in how abstract representations of landscape and pictorial space can be understood as sites of memory, experience, and potentiality. This body of work is about reframing what proximity and distance/memory and experience mean to me, tracing a line between the here and imagined, then and now—leading someplace else. These questions are held particularly close through the poetic materiality of fresco. During the brief passage of time that the intonaco layer of lime accepts pigments and image, surfaces move from wet to dry, color is buried and hardened, and transparency and opacity locate moments of the day. There’s an urgency to the technique of fresco painting, and the possibility and limitations work off each other.

Within the visual language that I employ, the question for me is how to bring form, light, and space together in ways that insinuate and give meaning to these images. How can glimpses of light, moments of fracture, buoyancy and gravity, commingle with depth of field to place the viewer in a relational arc with the paintings? How can the dualities of site/place, proximity/distance, and memory/time be used and still allow room for ambiguity to exist? These works are a set of ideas and questions. They are meant to poeticize the seen and felt world and to offer another version to consider.

— Frank Jackson


June 18, Saturday, 5 p.m. — Opening Celebration of Summer Exhibits
July 23, Saturday, 2 p.m. — Workshop: Transfer Prints with Frank Jackson
September 16, Friday, 7 p.m. — Artist & Curator Conversation: Frank Jackson and Sarah Freeman


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