Mark Jackson: Darkness and Light
March 17 – April 15, 2012
Curated by John Neff
Iceberg Projects is proud to display a new group of portrait drawings and related oil paintings of lone subjects—primarily young African-American and Latin males—by Chicago-based artist Mark Jackson. The show will be the premier presentation of this body of work, and Jackson’s first solo exhibition in over 20 years.
The artist is an inveterate collector of outsider and self-taught art, as well as unusual ephemera and vernacular photography. Darkness and Light will include an assortment of Jackson’s fascinating photographic scrapbooks, the sources for the many of the portrait images in the show. Jackson’s sensitively rendered, carefully individualized portraits contrast with the anonymity and “lowness” of his sources, often vintage pornographic and pulp magazines. This contrast opens onto a complex and engaging series of questions about, for example: the relationship between erotic desire and artistic production; where “individuality” is located within a portrait image; and the play of generality and specificity that operates in both serial art production and sexual attraction.
The artist offers the following poem, by the early 20th century writer C.P. Cavafy, as an epigram to his exhibition:
Ideal and dearly beloved voices
of those who are dead, or of those
who are lost to us like the dead.
Sometimes they speak to us in our dreams;
sometimes in thought the mind hears them.
And for a moment with their echo other echoes
return from the first poetry of our lives—
like music that extinguishes the far-off night.
Mark Jackson was born in Harrisburg, Illinois in 1952. After studying at both the San Francisco Art Institute and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Jackson received his BFA from SAIC in 1977. He has exhibited in Chicago, St. Louis, and Harbert, Michigan. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the University of Chicago Smart Museum of Art, and the J.P. Morgan Chase Art Collection.