For the past five years, Jackson has recorded the movement of tall grasses near her suburban Detroit studio and along the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Working from nature en plein air, she wields an Asian calligraphy brush with a built-in inkwell that allows for line variation within a single stroke. Inspired by a 1950s collage series by Lee Krasner, in which the Abstract Expressionist adhered paper segments on top of pre-existing drawings, Jackson transfers her intuitive sketches to canvas and then embellishes them with layers of opaque and transparent cutouts. Whereas Krasner’s “cannibalization” of her earlier works was an attempt to reinvigorate her creative process, Jackson’s adaption and manipulation of her original drawings are meant to preserve and reinforce the immediacy of her touch.
By wrapping her motifs around the sides of her canvases Jackson plays with the antithetical notions of painting as a window into space versus the modernist idea of painting as object. In Jackson’s newer water-themed paintings, figurative and non-figurative components collide. While the strikingly true-to-life images of rocks laboriously constructed from layer upon
layer of mulberry paper anchor the swirling, broad strokes of blue, green and black in Spring Torrent, they are afterthoughts. Jackson’s spontaneous line is the heart of her paintings.
The grid is also suggested by the spaces between the canvases comprising her multi-paneled works. Jackson intends for collectors to play with the ordering of the paintings’ sections in order to engage them in their own creative process. In the end, Jackson’s paintings are internal landscapes, where absolute geometry and descriptive line can play into whatever metaphor the viewer desires.
-Deidre S. Greben
Deidre Stein Greben is a former managing editor of ARTnews magazine and currently a contributing editor. In addition to ARTnews, her articles have appeared in the New York Times, Smithsonian Magazine, Newsday, Elle Décor, Art + Auction, among other publications. She has also edited several catalogues for the Whitney Museum of American Art and have written scripts for museum exhibition audio tours produced by Acoustiguide and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. r