Gerald Jackson’s solo show at White Columns offers a survey of the interdisciplinary artist’s 60-year career, showcasing work ranging from collage to fashion. Mannequins arrayed throughout the exhibition model garments designed, fabricated, and sometimes worn by Jackson himself. Just as with his canvas and paper works, there are aspects of collage and quilting in Jackson’s handmade outfits: patterned found fabrics are stitched together and spray-painted for functional wear.
In his "Divine Providence'' collages, Jackson incorporates poetry, portraiture, musical notation, and other repeating symbols, arranging the fragments into colorful compositions. The figurative collages offer a counterpoint to his stark text drawings, wherein sheets of paper form a grid, each block labelled by the name of a color, an arrangement that evokes musical scores and concrete poetry.
The exhibition also includes new work of Jackson’s: his two-part digital print Untitled (2021)—an appropriation of da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man—renders the charcoal figure against a green and blue background indicative of a landscape. A significant portion of Jackson’s oeuvre is devoted to these two colors: the abstract green and blue paintings he started in the 1980s experiment with variations of geometric arrangements. For Jackson, these works not only served as investigations into color theory and abstraction, demonstrating his understanding of perception and rhythm, but also contained associations of healing. In the 2021 works in this exhibition, Jackson labels each color field, reminiscent of the way in which he scrawls “BLACK” and “WHITE” across the otherwise blank sheets of paper of his text drawings. It’s a long-running thread through Jackson’s body of work—a practice of conceptual and physical naming, layering, and stitching together.
Gerald Jackson, Untitled, n.d. Two garments: Fabric appliqué on found clothing.