JULIAN JACKSON Other Rooms, new paintings
March 6 - April 4, 2015
Page Bond Gallery, Richmond, Virginia
This new body of work evokes openings, passages, walls, and windows. The spaces in the work are maze like, indeterminate, and perplexing, as life itself can be, but the paintings also evoke a sense of balance, clarity, historicity, the calm colors of the midday sky, the grey of shadows, the oriental white of mourning.
Where previously my work dealt with ambiguous spatial experience manifest through a softening of edges and a play of light and atmosphere, the new work draws clear edges in arrangements that appear logical at first glance only to shift subtly until one questions the truth of what one sees. As I was developing these paintings I struck deep and nearly forgotten chords of aesthetic experience with sources ridiculous, pedestrian, and sublime.
When I was a budding artist of 12 I was also a loyal reader of MAD Magazine. One month the cover introduced a strange figure called the poiuyt (interestingly, the opposite of qwerty), a seemingly simple Escher like twisting of figure and ground. I was fascinated by this strange abstraction and drew it again and again trying to fix its meaning and location. It was a first lesson in the ambiguous compositional space that has long interested me and informed my painting - the unfixed form, the layered depth in flatness, the shifting plane, the uncontained edge, the admission into the work of a hint of time and change.
As a boy I was taken to church, reluctantly. The religion never stuck, but the beauty of the building in which it was supposedly housed made a lasting impression. The patterns of the rough black slate floor, the soaring laminated wooden beams that held the ark like ceiling, the soothing greys of the stained glass windows and their lucid planar structure. Every moment in this special space felt charged to me. I may never visit again, but somehow these paintings are full of that particular room and my love of the experience of architectural space began there.
That experience of built space fills these paintings. We spend so much of our lives looking out of windows, passing through doors, moving down hallways, and always there is the play of planar space as simple movements translate into subtle shifts of light, line, and surface. Later I spent years as a carpenter ruled by the absolutes of plumb and level, developing a keen sense of the metaphor linking our created surroundings to our literal bodily surround. In the study of Japanese architecture, with its structural order and spatial flexibility I found that link to be most profound. Now, as a student of yoga, I look inward to find and maintain a similar clarity of connection to space and my place in it as an upright being on a horizontal plane.
Paradoxically, the one constant in life is change and constant restless forward motion. Coming to terms with that has brought me full circle to the clarity of this group of paintings, which open windows, open doors, and open the way for more.
- Julian Jackson 2014