Past

Gerald Jackson

Gerald Jackson

Nov. 7, 2021–Jan. 9, 2022

New York

Gordon Robichaux is honored to present Gerald Jackson’s first exhibition at the gallery, following our presentation of his work at the Independent Art Fair in September 2022 and recent exhibitions at White Columns and Wilmer Jennings Gallery at Kenkeleba House.

Jackson (b. 1936 in Chicago, IL) is a radical polymath, humanist, and visionary who embraces the spiritual dimensions of art to grapple with the cultural and social conditions of our time. Over the past sixty years—with thirty years in a large loft on the Bowery at the center of a vanguard community of artists and jazz musicians and the past two decades in Jersey City—Jackson has created a variegated body of work: painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, collage, clothing, performance, poetry, and music.

Gordon Robichaux’s exhibition highlights the interdisciplinary nature of Jackson’s practice with a presentation of paintings, collages, and sculptures created over the past twenty-five years. The works reveal his philosophical and conceptual approach to art making: his exploration of the power of color and light as agents of healing and transcendence, and his use of existing cultural and spiritual languages to construct new, liberating mythologies.

In his ongoing body of work dedicated to the colors blue and green, Jackson embraces their associative power (green for verdant earth and blue for sky and water) and their spiritual capabilities. He works with our fundamental human connection to these purest and most basic colors that cut across social constructs like race and class. The fields of blue and green in this group of paintings are punctuated by vertical marks—“zips”—that suggest the human body in a landscape, or human consciousness in alignment with the infinite. Horizons are sometimes split open, revealing optical patterns and hinting at a sublime dimension beyond what is visible. Another group of paintings on canvas and paper bring blue and green geometries into vibrational contact with red, black, and metallic gold. Here, Jackson uses color and form to map our relationship to the cosmos—earth, sky, sun, and infinite void.

Similarly, blue, yellow, and green paint applied to a found mirror obliterates the viewer’s reflection, subsuming the individual within a field of color.

Jackson’s found object sculptures also reference humanity’s continuum with the cosmic. Towers constructed with cultural debris—compact discs, glass vases, a gold plastic figurine of a basketball player, ceramic plates, a small clock, a statue of Michelangelo’s David painted blue, plastic bowls—are shrine-like talismans that also recall Egyptian obelisks communing with the sun and sky. The compact discs interspersed within the structures transmit prismatic rainbows of light and color.

Jackson has also explored the possibilities of photocopy technology since a residency in the early 1980s when he began reproducing, enlarging, and collaging found images to create new cross-cultural spiritual mythologies. Included in the exhibition is a large paper collage with an array of images: Ornette Coleman sheet music (Coleman was a friend and one-time roommate), a snapshot of Jackson in front of the Vatican, a black rose, a Botticelli painting, Egyptian symbols including an ankh, a black Japanese maneki-neko cat, and a typed poem by Jackson. Drawn text in a variety of sizes punctuates the images and suggests aural sensations: “BLUE”, “GREEN”, “DIVINE PROVIDENCE.”

A group of photocopies made with images from books includes a range of spiritual and secular sources: Egyptian sculptures and tomb decoration, an altar in a Christian church, and the queen’s chamber in a royal palace. By illuminating the photocopies with colored chalk, pastel, and watercolor, Jackson animates them back to life. Two new large paintings made for the exhibition incorporate found images enlarged, printed, and covered with barely visible brushstrokes of acrylic matte medium, setting mechanical reproduction against what Jackson calls evidence of “human touch.” In one painting, Josephine Baker appears as a divine being, reminiscent of the Hindu goddess Kali, her body a sublime form painted the blue of the sky or the sea.

Throughout, Jackson affirms the restorative spiritual power of art to heal and transcend humanity’s destructive forces—inequity, racism, violence, injustice, and the destruction of the natural world.

Install (20)

Works

Untitled

Acrylic on canvas in artist's frame

Two panels: 24.5 x 72 x 1.625 inches (overall)

2003

Untitled

Chalk pastel on paper

10.5 x 6.75 inches; 14 x 10.5 inches (framed)

n.d.

Untitled

Mixed media on paper

7 x 7 inches; 15 x 14 inches (framed)

2003

Untitled

Found objects and glue

25 x 10 x 10 inches

c. early 2000s

Untitled

Found objects, acrylic, and glue

8 x 4 x 14 inches

c. early 2000s

Untitled

Mixed media collage on paper

36 x 76 inches; 40 x 81 inches (framed)

2016

Untitled

Acrylic on found framed mirror

17 x 13 x 1 inches

n.d.

Untitled

Reactive dye inkjet print on cotton twill, paint marker,and acrylic matte medium

67 x 55 inches

2021

Untitled

Acrylic and mixed media on found panel

34 x 20 inches; 35 x 21.125 inches (framed)

2019

Untitled

Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

36 x 24 inches; 36 x 24 inches (framed)

c. 2019

Untitled

Found objects, acrylic, and glue

19 x 6 inches

c. early 2000s

Untitled

Found objects and glue

17 x 6 x 6 inches

c. early 2000s

Untitled

Found objects and glue

29 x 4 x 4 inches

c. early 2000s

Untitled

Found objects, acrylic, and glue

19 x 6 x 6 inches

c. early 2000s

Untitled

Chalk pastel on photocopy

8 x 11 inches; 12 x 14.5 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Watercolor and chalk pastel on photocopy

8.5 x 9.5 inches; 12 x 13 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel on photocopy

11 x 9 inches; 14.5 x 12.5 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel on photocopy

8.5 x 8.5 inches; 12 x 12 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel on photocopy

8.25 x 8.25 inches; 12 x 12.25 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel and watercolor on photocopy

9.25 x 7 inches ; 13 x 10.75 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel and marker on photocopy

5 x 8 inches; 8.5 x 11.5 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel on photocopy

8.5 x 5.5 inches; 12 x 9 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel on photocopy

8.5 x 14 inches; 12 x 17.5 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Chalk pastel on photocopy

8.5 x 8.5 inches; 12 x 12.25 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Watercolor on photocopy

11 x 8.5 inches; 14.5 x 12 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Watercolor, mixed media, and photocopy on paper

8.5 x 8.5 inches; 12 x 12.25 inches (framed)

2008

Untitled

Mixed media on paper

7 x 7 inches; 15 x 14 inches (framed)

2003

Untitled

Mixed media on paper

7 x 7 inches; 15 x 14 inches (framed)

2003

Untitled

Reactive dye inkjet print on cotton twill, paint marker, and acrylic matte medium

49 x 68 inches

2021

Untitled

Acrylic, mixed media, and photocopy on paper

67.75 x 70.75 inches; 73 x 75.75 (framed)

2014

Untitled (from The House of Eternity)

Mixed media on paper

11 x 8.5 inches; 14.5 x 12 inches (framed)

2013

Untitled

Acrylic and mixed media on paper

12 x 9 inches; 15.5 x 12.5 inches (framed)

2011

Untitled

Found objects and glue

15 x 10.5 x 10.5 inches

c. early 2000s

Untitled

Found objects, wire, and glue

18 x 14.5 x 11 inches

c. early 2000s

Press

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Gordon Robichaux