Tomashi Jackson: Time Out of Mind
April 30 – June 29, 2019
Opening Reception: April 30, 6 - 8 PM
Tilton Gallery is delighted to present Tomashi Jackson: Time out of Mind, from April 30 – June 29, 2019. A reception for the artist will take place Tuesday, April 30, from 6 – 8 pm.
In this body of work, Jackson seeks to explore new uses of material, geometric abstraction and color interaction to visualize two disparate moments in history where the arguments of eminent domain are used to dispossess and displace targeted communities in New York. This investigation spans histories from 1857 to the present, from the displacement of what was Seneca Village in our present day Central Park to the contemporary seizures of fully paid for, fully owned properties through the city’s use of the Third Party Transfer Program.
Jackson’s research focuses on the 1850s when Frederick Law Olmstead planned and built Central Park, disrupting and displacing the entirety of the long established community of Seneca Village, a site within the park with three churches, two schools, two cemeteries and a thriving population. Founded by free African Americans, Seneca Village had the highest percentage of Black property ownership in the city. Shocking parallels to this early disruption and disregard for an established population were uncovered when Jackson extended her research to examine present day New York City developers who succeed in challenging long established black ownership of property, a practice rarely written about or acknowledged.
The work is based on historical documents from archives on the creation of Central Park in the mid-1800s and draws upon the work by contemporary journalists Kelly Mena and Stephen Witt in the King’s County Politics New York newspaper. Information on the park and its people has also been found in Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar’s The Park and the People: A History of Central Park.
Jackson’s work examines these two histories, past and present, that are disturbingly similar, both framing the dispossession of the homes of black populations as acceptable in the name of redevelopment. Weaving printed images taken from photographs of individuals from both periods into her colorful abstract, collage paintings, Jackson creates vibrant works of art that investigate color, light and perception, all the while presenting us with the collision of two histories, a literal and figurative melding of past and present.
Symbolic of this overlap in time is a monoprint that collapses the images of two men from these widely separated historical periods into one image, becoming a limited value exercise where two colors are made to look like one. In her larger painted and sculptural works, images from each period are printed onto mylar strips that overlay the geometric paintings on canvas and collaged paper. Transparency and translucency, the transmittal of light and color, are central to these works. A bright blue awning from which more of these colorful, but translucent strips seem to fall refers to the many abandoned store fronts found throughout the city.
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 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.
Jackson’s work is currently on view in the Whitney Biennial 2019, New York, and is included in Hinge Pictures: Eight Women Artists Occupy the Third Dimension at the Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans. Her first solo museum exhibition, Interstate Love Song, took place at the Zuckerman Museum of Art in Kennesaw, Georgia in 2018, and her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including Give and Take: Highlighting Recent Acquisitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and In the Abstract at MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA in 2017.
Jackson will be a 2019 Resident Artist at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture and she will have a solo exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York during the summer of 2020. Her work is included in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island, the Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, Massachusetts, and Cooper Union, New York, and she has been a visiting artist at New York University. Jackson lives and works in Cambridge, Massachusetts and New York City.