Jackson’s subversive, shape-shifting sculptures are evolving forms which open to reveal precious gems once hidden. Her pieces are also informed by feminine retro-beasts, such as harpies, fiji-mermaids, and Sasquatch; these archaic figures are combined with imagery found in present-day subcultures. For instance, sculptures from her series She Beasts, are heavily influenced by antiquated mermaid folklore and circus sideshow culture from the mid-1800s, in which Fiji mermaids were a prominent fixture; a version of these monstrous figures re-appropriates this folk art tradition and recreates this profound myth. And, her Monster Paws series references contemporary manicure culture, a postmodern gesture that echoes what T. S. Eliot called the manipulation of a “continuous parallel between contemporaneity and antiquity.”
“Jackson centers the object firmly, like a mineral once stuck and removed from the geology of an alien plateau. Heads of 'beasts' are flayed and peeled, deconstructing the original image — resulting in creatures or mineral formations opening as if caught in a psychedelic, biological dissection of the underworld's secrets. Her protruding mystical elements stab the atmosphere from the palms of paws, like an offering to its celestial creator. Nails, fur, candles, crystals, gold chains and dice are reminiscent of an urbane plateau, earthly, physical and profane albeit a suggested irreverence for sacred symbols of contemporary occultism.” [Excerpt by Caroline Wheat, from the press release for “Flamethrowers” a two person exhibition at Elijah Wheat Showroom, Bushwick, NY (5/18)].
These sculptures are created by a series of ceramic practices that mimic geology, as clay morphs from a malleable material into a hard one. The metamorphic forms are reinforced by vibrant, lustrous glazes — achieved through layering surfaces and multiple kiln firings. There are collisions of nature and fantasy, the absurd, the playful, the ironic and the grotesque.
Her work was recently exhibited at The Hole in the exhibition “CLAY TODAY” and reviewed in the New York Times article, “What To See In New York Art Galleries This Week.” Jillian Steinhauer wrote: “Roxanne Jackson’s ‘Wild Mineral’ (2017) suggests the sawed-in-half skull of a dangerous, mythical creature. These works, grouped along one wall, demonstrate what can happen when clay becomes a vessel for pure imagination.” (4/18/18)