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Tomashi Jackson: Across the Universe


  • Public Program

  • Thursday, August 29, 6pm
  • $5 Advance
  • The Research & Development Store

Deeply committed to social justice, artist Tomashi Jackson creates vibrant paintings, sculptures, videos, and textiles that powerfully explore systemic inequities found throughout U.S. history. Join us in The R&D Store for a book launch and conversation with the artist and MASS MoCA’s Senior Curator, Susan Cross to celebrate the launch of Tomashi Jackson: Across the Universe. This is the first book to present an overview of Jackson’s practice.

In the years since her stand-out presentation of sculpture and video at MASS MoCA in 2017 as part of In the Abstract, Jackson’s career has taken off, with her inclusion in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, group shows at venues including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, solo exhibitions at The Wexner Center, and the Parrish Museum, and a survey which debuted at the Denver Art Museum and is currently on view at the ICA, Philadelphia. Over the course of her career, Jackson has closely investigated how systemic racism and civil rights advocacy have informed America’s approach to housing, education, transportation, voter disenfranchisement, police brutality, migration, and land grabs — doing so with ecstatic color and texture, along with deep research and profound emotion. Inspired by Josef Albers’s research on the relativity of color, she layers image and hue, harnessing the effects of light and perception to illuminate the complexity of underrecognized patterns of oppression, activism, and resistance.

About the Author:
Tomashi Jackson’s (b. 1980, Houston, TX) research-driven multimedia practice combines painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, video, fibrework and performance to explore the influence of social histories and aesthetic theory. Tracing an intersection between 1960s colour theory, histories of abstraction, love songs and archival imagery, Jackson interrogates the ways in which aesthetic and political edicts of colour are fundamentally interwoven. A painterly approach anchors her practice; from a kaleidoscopic layering of colour and vinyl strips onto her increasingly sculptural surfaces, to projecting colour through her videos and photographs, and a theoretical approach to colour in her fibrework.

Jackson fuses historical images with earthen materials that reference sites and subjects of public concern, including: education policy and voting rights in the United States; the implementation of eminent domain (compulsory purchase) in New York City since the razing of Seneca Village in the 19th century, and the history of governments trafficking drugs as a means to fund wars. By using nuanced colour and collage strategies, Jackson invites the viewer to consider material experiences of painting, the ways in which colour perception has influenced the governance of public spaces, and how marginalized communities preserve and empower themselves.

A Summer Chalet Book Event

Photo by Dan Watkins