Roxanne Jackson is a ceramic artist and mixed-media sculptor living in Brooklyn, NY. Her macabre works are black-humored investigations of the links between transformation, myth and pop-culture. Press for her work includes The New York Times, The New Yorker, The LA Times, Juxtapoz Magazine, Hyperallergic, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Artnet, and The Observer, among others. She is the recipient of residencies at Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park (Japan), the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts (NE), Socrates Sculpture Park (NY), Wassaic Project (NY), PLOP (UK), Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts (ME), the Ceramic Center of Berlin (Germany), funded by a Jerome Project Grant, and the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen (China), funded by an NCECA fellowship.
Jackson has exhibited widely, nationally and abroad, with recent exhibitions at DUVE Berlin Gallery, (Berlin), Cob Gallery (London), Anonymous Gallery (Mexico City), Garis and Hahn (LA), Kunstraum Niederösterreich (Vienna), Mathilde Hatzenberger Gallery (Brussels) and Untitled Art Fair (Miami Beach) with Richard Heller Gallery. She has recently shown her work in New York City at venues including The Hole, Catinca Tabacaru Gallery, Ortega y Gasset Projects, Underdonk Gallery, Honey Ramka, Regina Rex, Sardine Gallery and SPRING/BREAK Art Fair. She looks forward to the upcoming exhibition “Friends and Friends of Friends” at the Schlossmuseum in Linz, Austria.
My work blazes a new path to reinvent craft and disrupt historic ceramic sculpture. By approaching ceramics from many different directions, using a variety of materials and techniques, I exploit this medium, question conventional notions of beauty and find beauty in the unexpected. I aim to invent a new mythology by creating uncanny, distorted and psychedelic forms. These metamorphic “mystery objects,” escape a single unified narrative. They are created through an exploration of form, by sculpting mashup compositions, extracting traits from both highbrow and lowbrow culture and maneuvering fire and fluxed glaze. These shapeshifting sculptures evolve and unfurl, revealing gems once hidden. There are collisions of nature and fantasy, the absurd, the playful, the ironic and the grotesque.
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 firing process, adding an element of heat, further parallels metamorphic rock formation. Glaze is applied, melting and crystallizing onto the surface, like igneous rock. Deviant forms are reinforced by vibrant, lustrous glazes — achieved through layering surfaces and multiple kiln firings. This sublime relationship between the natural world and ceramics has informed the imagery of my sculptures. Conglomerate-like animal heads are cut in half to reference a geode. They transform into something else — like a head that petrifies and crystallizes over time, morphing into a mineral, a fossil or a pearl. The interiors of these flayed heads are an amalgamation of decorative elements, geometric shapes and alien-like textures; they seem otherworldly.
In my series Monster Paws, oversized paws/hands are cutesy and chubby, or creepy and gnarly. These beastly claws are always adorned, with excessively manicured nails decorated with French tips, rhinestones, gold luster or glitter. These ostentatious hands hold various items from a crystal shrine to magic mushrooms, or from a spiny shell to a slimy slug. Mouthwatering details of piece of Nigiri sushi, or a slice of partially eaten birthday cake (cherry with chocolate frosting), never looked so tawdry and tempting. And, a once innocent slice of mushroom pizza transmogrifies into the hideous skull of a melting-zombie-pizza face. Furthermore, I reference this exaggerated decor by making utilitarian objects, such as candle holders, to further subvert the traditions of the ceramic medium.
“Jackson’s ceramic sculptures of splayed animal heads, swollen hands, and humanoid creatures are presented on mirrored surfaces that reflect and fold in on themselves. Animal spirits, vampiric features, and gore are met with absurd compositions and camp gestures. Lurid nightmares come to life through fire and melted glaze. Visions so grotesque and absurd, they tip the balance from horror into humor. ” Excerpt from the press release written by Arielle Bier for “Karma” a two person exhibition at Duve Berlin, Berlin, Germany (September 12 – October 25, 2019).