News

2020

Looking back now, I see 2020 as a year not just of isolation and loss, but also of adaptation. As painful as the COVID lockdowns were, they created a powerful incentive to simplify, and to come up with ways to do more with fewer resources. They also gave us plenty of time to think about our profligate habits and their escalating environmental consequences, like wildfires, hurricanes and global pandemics. For me personally, 2020 was proof of the adage that creativity thrives under constraints. Unable to travel, for instance, I visited the same local locations again and again, finding new dimension in familiar landscapes. And rather than skipping from one sculptural object to another, I focused on a single material all year, nylon tulle. I chose tulle for its mutability—depending on how it’s arranged and how the wind catches it, it can morph from a solid to a liquid, to fire to billowing smoke. /// Another unexpected innovation wrought by 2020 came in how my installations are held aloft. In the past, when doing shoots on beaches, I’ve relied on bulky tripods as off-camera supports. But hiring extra hands to help carry them wasn’t an option last year, so I tapped a resource right there on the sand: driftwood. Once I made use of it, the installations became more responsive and intrinsic to their environments, and my own life got a lot easier in the process. /// Above all, 2020 was the year I tried to harness the wind. On every shoot, Northern California’s offshore breezes were my collaborator, the force that transformed my installations from lifeless fabric to living things. As collaborations go it was a tumultuous one—of the twenty or so pieces I built and photographed last year, thirteen were failures—but along the way I learned a thing or two about the importance of staying on nature’s good side. When I built pieces that obstructed or defied the wind in any way, I’d go home unhappy. But when my constructions respected and responded to the wind, interesting things would occur!

 

Emergent Behavior, 2011 - 2016

The hovering installations featured in this ongoing series of photographs are inspired by self-organizing, "emergent" systems in nature such as termite mounds, swarming locusts, schooling fish and flocking birds. The images attempt to tap the mixture of fear and fascination that those phenomena tend to evoke, while creating an uneasy interplay between the natural and the manufactured and the real and the imaginary. At the same time, each image is an experiment in juxtaposition. By constructing the installations from unexpected materials and placing them where they seem least to belong, I aim to tweak the margins of our visual vocabulary, and to invite fresh interpretations of everyday things.

 

The Robot Series

In this series of photographs, I’ve combined elements of science fiction literature and film with storytelling motifs from Medieval tapestries and altarpieces to create a darkly humorous narrative about a lone robot’s failure to co-exist with the natural world. Against that backdrop, the work explores the uneasy, opposing emotions Mother Nature provokes in us: fear and fascination, reverence and contempt, attraction, revulsion, greed, guilt and the queasy feeling that in the end, she will get us back for everything we’ve done wrong. I chose to build the series around a robot because he seemed an apt representation of our otherness within the natural world, and a stand-in for our ceaseless desire to force our environment into permanent submission—no matter how doomed the effort might be.

 

Thomas Jackson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. After earning a B.A. in History from the College of Wooster, he spent his early career in New York City working in book publishing, then as an editor and writer at Forbes Life magazine. An interest in photography books eventually led him to pick up a camera, shooting Garry Winogrand-inspired street scenes, then landscapes, and finally the installation work he does today. A self-taught artist (with the exception a number of classes at the International Center of Photography in New York), Jackson has pioneered a unique working process that combines landscape photography, sculpture and kinetic art. His work has been shown widely, including at The Photography Show (AIPAD) in New York, the Center for Contemporary Arts in Sante Fe and the Bolinas Museum in Bolinas, CA. Jackson was named one of the Critical Mass Top 50 in 2012, won the “installation/still-life” category of PDN’s The Curator award in 2013 and earned second place in CENTER's Curator's Choice Award in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania.

 

 

CV

 

Background

b. 1971    Philadelphia, PA

1993        Bachelor of Arts, History, The College of Wooster

 

Solo Exhibitions

2019          New Work, Pentimenti Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

2018          Tree no. 1, Heron Arts, San Francisco, CA

2018          Emergent Behavior, SFO Museum, San Francisco, CA

2017          Emergent Behavior, Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA

2017          Emergent Behavior, Cynthia-Reeves, North Adams, MA

2016          Emergent Behavior, Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA

2015          Emergent Behavior, Dina Mitrani Gallery, Miami, FL

2015          Emergent Behavior, Photo-eye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

 

Group Exhibitions

2019         The Photography Show (AIPAD), Jackson Fine Art, New York, NY

2019         Art on Paper, Ellen Miller Gallery, New York, NY

2018         Art on Paper, Ellen Miller Gallery, New York, NY

2017         Art Miami, Jackson Fine Art, Miami, FL

2017         Phenomenon, The Bolinas Museum, Bolinas, CA

2017         The Photography Show (AIPAD), Jackson Fine Art, New York, NY

2017         Unnatural Phenomena (with Alejandra Laviada), Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design

2016         Art Miami, Cynthia-Reeves, Miami, FL

2015         The Disrupted Landscape, Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA

2015         Scope Basel, Cynthia-Reeves, Basel, Switzerland

2014         Art Miami, Cynthia-Reeves, Miami, FL

2014         The Curve, Center for Contemporary Arts, Sante Fe, NM

2014         The Fence, United Photo Industries, Brooklyn, NY,

                 Boston, MA and Atlanta, GA

2014         Photography Now, juried by Julie Grahame, The Center for

                 Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY

2014         ONWARD Compé ‘14, juried by Andrew Moore, Project Basho,

                 Philadelphia, PA

2014         Wondrous Indeed, juried by Philip Toledano, The Center for Fine Art

                 Photography, Fort Collins, CO

2014         The National, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Fort Wayne, IN

2013         Well Hung, The Print Center Annual Auction, Philadelphia, PA

2013         PDN The Curator group show, Industria Superstudios, New York, NY

2013         Emerging Artist Auction, Daniel Cooney Gallery, New York, NY

2013         Critical Mass group show, curated by W.M. Hunt, Jennifer Schwartz

                 Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia and Southeast Museum of Photography,

                 Daytona Beach, Florida

2013         Intro, La Fototeca, Guatemala City, Guatemala

2013         Fountain Art Fair, with Arcilesi-Homberg Fine Art, New York, NY

2012         The Gallery at Eponymy, curated by Amani Olu, Brooklyn, NY

2012         Take Me There (MOPLA), Venice Arts Gallery, Venice, CA

2012         Angkor Photo Festival, Siem Reap, Cambodia

2011         The Governors Island Art Fair, New York, NY

2011         The (un)Framed Photograph, The Center for Book Arts, New York, NY

 

Collections

2020         University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

2019         Marin Health, Larkspur, CA

2018         JP Morgan Chase, New York, NY

2017         Delta Airlines

2016         Fidelity Investments, Boston, MA

2015         Berkshire Partners, Boston, MA

2014         Rotch Library at MIT, Cambridge, MA

2014         The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, MA

2013         United Talent Agency, Los Angeles, CA

 

Lectures/Workshops

2019         Farther Afield, Landscape Photography Reimagined (workshop for San Francisco

                 Photo Alliance)

2018         The HOPES Conference, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR

2015         Photo-eye Gallery, Santa Fe, NM

2014         Photo Alliance (with Robert Cumming), San Francisco Art Institute,

                 San Francisco, CA

 

Awards & Residencies

2014         CENTER Curator's Choice Award, Second Place

2014         ONWARD Compé ‘14, juror's award winner

2014         Wondrous Indeed, Center for Fine Art Photography, juror's selection

2014         The National, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Juror's Merit Award

2013         Art Takes Paris, See.me, winner of “Photography” category

2013         PDN The Curator, winner of “Installation/still-life” category

2013         Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, Brush Creek, Wyoming

2012         Critical Mass Top 50

 

Publications

2017         Harper's

2016         The New Yorker

2015         Harper's

2013         Wired

2013         Photo District News

2013         Tricycle Magazine

2013         American Photo Magazine

2012         The Artist Catalogue

2012         M/I/S/C magazine

2011         The Huffington Post