Growing up on a commune in rural Tennessee, artist Jackson Martin fell in love with the craftsmanship and idealism inherent to the creation of sculpture. His old artist statement describes the core of his extensive body of work as, "a collaboration between the natural and the cultural."
Earning an MFA from the renowned Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, he now teaches at the College of Charleston while also working for the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art in Charleston, South Carolina. Martin has set up installations all over the U.S., including one at the Pratt Institute's celebrated sculpture park in Brooklyn. As a visiting artist to our own esteemed fine arts college, Memphis College of Art will hold Martin's reception in Rust Hall's Callicott Auditorium tonight at 7p.m.
Martin's style tends to be primarily concerned with blending the natural elegance of organic materials with the finite modernity of man-made mediums, and the culmination of a contemporary human situation.
"I incorporate the permanence of steel, wood, glass and plastic, in order to represent my human propensity towards order and control. On the other side of this convergence exist the elements that are continually beyond my authority. I employ ephemeral materials, such as plants, soil, water and light that represent the uncertain and unpredictable world around me. With these two material extremes, I construct frames, containers and enclosures in which the cultural elements attempt to hold and embrace the natural. Ultimately, these constructed situations are intended as portraits of human communication and interaction," says Martin.
Although his developing interest in photography has turned toward erasing the distinctions between traditional American male and female roles, his work as a sculptor has been widely recognized, most recently in a group exhibition of the Whitney Museum at Viridian Artists in New York City. Learn more about the artist's work here.