Robert C. Jackson at Gallery Henoch

March 27, 2011

Robert Jackson has been showing at Gallery Henoch for several yearrs but this is his first solo show. Jackson is an photo-realistic painter who chooses everyday objects as his subject. He has total mastery of his brush so what is interesting in his work is that Jackson paints ideas.

Those of you who’ve read my reviews know I’m not a big fan of photo-realism. If you want something that looks like a photo, then use a photo. If you want a painting, then use a painting. Yes, photographers are experimenting with abstraction, just as 20 odd years ago painters began to experiment with ultra-realism. There are also those painters who print a photo on canvas and use that as an element in their painting.

Painting ideas has pretty much been the purview of abstract painters these past years. I haven’t ever heard anyone asking a landscape or still life painter what they were thinking. You can’t escape abstract painters explaining their ideas if you admire a painting. I’m very fond of Dorothy Culpepper, an abstract expressionist, because, for one thing, her view is that your idea of her work’s meaning is what’s important, not what her idea was.

Which brings us back to Robert Jackson. Clearly, he’s mastered technique. His apples are good enough to eat. His crates are ready to be used. His darts can hurt you. His ballons look ready to pop. It’s shocking that he’s as prolific as he is given his time consuming style.

As I said, though, he paints ideas and he wants us to understand them, absorb them. Humor is a better teacher than dogma; Jackson uses giggles well. His message is important: we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously, life is about balance.

My favorite: the balloon dogs entitled Battle of the Sexes. What I wouldn’t give to hang this over the fireplace!

Enjoy Jackson’s work. See it at Gallery Henoch through April 16 and laugh out loud when you do. You’ll remember what he’s telling you.

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