Tomashi Jackson: The Great Society
November 10, 2022 - January 28, 2023
Opening: Thursday, November 10th, 6:00 to 8:00PM
Tilton Gallery is delighted to present Tomashi Jackson: The Great Society, November 10th through January 28th. This will be Jackson’s third solo show at the gallery. A reception for the artist will take place on Thursday, November 10th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.
In The Great Society, Tomashi Jackson continues to explore past legislation and key moments of history that are emblematic of times of important change and that are relevant to the present. She selects images that embody the spirit as well as facts of those moments to examine these historical events for their impact, heedful of how they resonate in our current time. For this exhibition, images taken from the public domain focus on three events where the possibility and promise of a great society was presented to audiences public and private in 1963, 1965, and 1969.
Jackson looks at President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s first formal speech about his intentions for the Great Society, given at the University of Michigan in 1963. Images are taken from the audience as they listen to him talk about his proposed legislation. Other images, from 1965, show young Black organizers meeting with him regarding the policies in that legislation on voting rights. These images from 1963 and 1965 collide with images of an audience applauding and cheering after a performance of “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” by Nina Simone at Morehouse College in 1969. Jackson looks at these high points from the 1960s with all their implications in relationship to the present unravelling of that same legislation.
Some of these images are embedded in her large and vibrantly colored canvases, projected onto and painted in halftone lines into her abstract, increasingly expressionist, surfaces. Other images are printed onto colorful marine vinyl strips that are layered over these painted surfaces. The collision of subject matter is echoed in the collision of the two material color surfaces. The superimposition of color upon color and image upon image emphasizes the relationships both formal and in content. Additional symbolism emerges as one learns that the painted surfaces are all embedded with marble dust taken from the Yule Mountain Quarry, the same site in Colorado from which the marble used for the Lincoln Memorial came.
The paintings are supported by three-dimensional handmade wood structures that act as stretchers, protruding from the wall in a triangular shape. This allows the hanging vinyl strips, extending beyond the bottom of the stretchers, to project color onto the wall itself, while the strips’ transparency acts physically and metaphorically to allow one to see multiple colors and images at once.
Tomashi Jackson was born in Houston, Texas in 1980 and grew up in Los Angeles, California. She received her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from the Yale University School of Art in 2016; earned her Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology from the MIT School of Architecture and Planning in 2012; and her BFA from Cooper Union in 2010. She was a Resident Artist at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture in 2019; the recipient of the 2022 Roy R. Neuberger Prize and received a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant in 2020.
Jackson currently has an exhibition (SLOW JAMZ) focusing on her videos, which she views as experiments in painting, at the Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY, on view through November 27th. Other solo museum exhibitions have taken place at the Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY (The Land Claim) and at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University (Brown II), both in 2021; the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (Love Rollercoaster) in 2020; and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw University, Kennesaw, GA (Interstate Love Song) in 2018. Jackson will have a major survey of her multidisciplinary work of paintings, sculptures and videos at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, scheduled to open in June of 2023. Catalogues for the exhibitions at the Neuberger Museum, Radcliffe Institute and the Parrish Art Museum reflect the in-depth original research behind these shows as well as the exhibited works.
Jackson’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; The Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Baltimore Museum of Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Institute for Contemporary Art, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA among many others. Jackson was included in the 2019 Whitney Biennial.
Works by Jackson are in the collections of MOCA, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Perez Art Museum Miami; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Boston Museum of Fine Arts; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Parrish Art Museum, Watermill, NY; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among others.
Tomashi Jackson lives and works in Cambridge, MA and New York City.