acrylic, photograph, hardware & wood
60.9 x 45.7cm
Untitled by Ravi Jackson is currently on view in the group exhibition 17:4 & presented here as part of Private View until 5 May 2021.
Ravi Jackson’s multimedia canvases can be read as the materialization, or aestheticization of the social. Drawing from a wide berth of references and histories, Jackson’s work intentionally avoids easy reading, rarely bound by a single discourse or subject. Jackson's contribution to 17:4, Untitled (2019), mobilizes Kurt Russell as the center image of a hinged assemblage, reminiscent of a portable Christian shrine. Instead of a Christ figure, the savior of mortal souls has been supplanted by Russel’s portrayal of Wyatt Earp in the film Tombstone (1993).
The work functions as an interrogation of American hypermasculinity. Earp, a controversial yet iconic figure in American folklore is known for his following as a politician, entrepreneur and perhaps most importantly, a law enforcement agent known for his use of deadly force. Humour breaks up the composition, with a lathed wooden object, painted purple and suspended beneath Earp/Russell, unsettling the machismo seriousness with a phallic symbol reminiscent of Surrealist modalities.
In between sculpture and painting, the assemblage, as format or medium, exists in an unrooted gap between painting, sculpture and photography, floating and undefined. That gap, or perhaps joining, between mediums that the assemblage occupies exists as a way in which artists can articulate ideas, histories or discourses that exist outside of binary forms or alternatively occupy multiple positions at once. The works in 17:4 could maybe be only be linked together by this feeling of unsettlement, of ground moving beneath your feet: images of Kurt Russell bleed into conversations surrounding hyper-masculinity as cultural hallmark; amassed refuse becomes an ode to one's community; and decolonial artistic acts rupture damaging colonial perceptions of land use.
Jackson's (b. 1985) work uses imagery and text from popular culture as a way to negotiate ideas about race, art and sexuality. Jackson lives and works in Los Angeles. In 2016 he completed his MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles and he also holds a BFA from Hunter College in New York. Current and recent exhibitions include Reassembly, Galerie Nordenhake, Stockholm, Sweden; Boîte en Valise, Office Baroque, Antwerp, Belgium (both 2021); Positioner, Matthew Marks, Los Angeles, USA and Ice on Soul, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles USA (both 2018).
Private View functions as Unit 17's online viewing room, focusing on in depth presentations of a single artwork by exhibited & represented artists, as well as additional film & video.
Gabrielle L'Hirondelle Hill opens 5 May 2021 with a work from Waste Lands, alongside her first solo exhibition at a US Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, 25 April - 15 August 2021.