Face Is The Closest
PV: 7th April
Exhibition: 8th April – 6th May 2017
In conversation: 28th April
Opening hours: Thurs – Sat 12 – 6 pm
Block 336 is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of paintings by London-based artist, Mark Jackson.
In his intensely complex and multi-layered oil paintings, Mark Jackson explores the many qualities of the lone human subject. Broadly inspired by the history of figure painting, his distinctive personal vision re- situates the human form in a new imaginary realm, presenting us with a series of intense and meticulously rendered portraits.
There is a subtle, yet fundamental philosophical dimension to Jackson’s take on the face. The legible face is one that signifies in order to communicate – it is the chief signifier in an ordered and intelligible world. The illegible face by contrast, is one that refuses to signify in the usual way. This is the face that emotes ineffectively, whose characteristics are hard to ‘read’ and whose actions appear uncoordinated and misleading. For Jackson, these faces pose an essential challenge to the very possibility of interpretation, and perhaps mirror an unreadable and unreachable inner world.
Jackson’s paintings are at once alluring and unknowable. They draw the viewer in through seductive surfaces, softly psychedelic light, and the use of human scale. At the same time, his images evoke a pervading sense of disconnectedness – they can appear longing and thoughtful, or blank, anomalous, and sometimes menacing. In his making process, images pass through different mediums, picking up traits and characteristics along the way. Often starting life as charcoal sketches on paper, they are converted to oil sketches, digital files, prints and collages, and then back into paintings. This process simultaneously constructs and dismantles the face. If one phase establishes features or expressions, another will abstract and complicate them. For Jackson, this approach creates a chaos from which his singular visions emerge.
The Twentieth Century’s tightrope between abstraction and figuration is a key influence on Jackson’s practice. He finds a powerful productivity in the indeterminacy and evasiveness it offers, and seeks to walk this line in order to face its consequences and re-define its boundaries.
Mark Jackson is a London-based artist. Recent exhibitions include Making the Nature Seen (2016), Tannery Projects, London and Delta (2015), Five Years, London. In 2013 he curated an international group exhibition Everything Wants to Run at Block 336, which explored ideas of material transmutation across different media. He worked collaboratively with Charlotte Webb from 2003 to 2010 and exhibited as Jackson Webb in the UK and abroad including: Bad Moon Rising, curated by Jessica Silverman and Jan Van Woensel; An Experiment in Collaboration at the Jerwood Space, London; and Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2007.