Critics’ Picks

Patrick Jackson, Curtain, 2016, Plasticine, polyurethane, epoxy, 34 x 26 1/2 x 7 1/2".

Patrick Jackson, Curtain, 2016, Plasticine, polyurethane, epoxy, 34 x 26 1/2 x 7 1/2".

Los Angeles

Patrick Jackson

François Ghebaly
2245 E Washington Blvd.
June 11–July 30, 2016

While the title of Patrick Jackson’s current solo exhibition, “Drawings and Reliefs,” offers a seemingly straightforward description of the series of works on paper and wall-mounted sculptures on view, it also alludes to the more sensual propositions at stake for the artist: Both drawings and reliefs are conceived as images that appeal not exclusively to vision but also to touch.

Depicting bodily forms in surreal combinations, seventeen notebook-size drawings comprise a prelude to, and source material for, the six flesh-toned sculptures occupying the second gallery. Composed with drippy watercolors, waxy oil paint, and pen, Jackson’s illustrations are sometimes narrative and sentimental—in Box, 2004, two forlorn figures are haunted by toothy monsters atop a steep pedestal, their fall seeming imminent—at other times, the works are menacing and confessional. In Mouth Behind Curtain, 2013, plump red lips with Chiclet-shaped teeth and braces float eerily behind deep-blue drapery. These folds reappear in supple relief in Curtain, 2016, where the fleshy, finger-thick ripples now surround an elongated neck—a form that becomes recognizable only when one walks away and looks back at the subtle shifts in the surface, where a nipple-like blip latently materializes as an Adam’s apple.

Jackson cast these works in Plasticine after modeling them first in WED—Walt E. Disney—clay, an especially soft medium first developed by the eponymous animator to create more lifelike animatronics. Just as in the sculptures, where imagery is informed intimately by the artist’s touch, in the drawing Hand on Chest, 2014, phalangeal impressions function indexically: an eerie red palm hovers above a headless torso covered in a pockmarked rash made from the artist’s thumbprints. Such physical and psychic motifs circle between drawings and reliefs; grids, folds, and cuts repeat and resurface in exaggerations that ultimately imagine our bodies as malleable and incommensurable images.