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Martha Jackson Jarvis: Ancestors' Bones on view at the University Museums, University of Delaware
Martha Jackson Jarvis: Ancestors’ Bones brings into public discourse aspects of the private realm, drawn from a vintage photo album, as the artist distills and extracts life forces from an earlier time and provides them with new agency.
NEWARK, DE.- Martha Jackson Jarvis: Ancestors’ Bones explores relationships and contingencies linking histories and spirits captured in a vintage photographic album and in the physical materiality of nature. Conceptualized as an environment of immersion that blurs boundaries between sequential and spatial narratives, her installation of drawings, digitally enhanced imagery and sculpture, literally and figuratively unearths resonant histories from the photographic record, dislodging the visual fixity of the socio-historic image, and creatively reimagining their stories within the natural world.

Working with natural materials, pigments, and dyes—most gathered and distilled by the artist—Jackson Jarvis gives new life to dormant or decaying nature. In her large-scale drawing series Ancestors’ Bones: Free Spirits playful if episodic drips, splashes, and brushy strokes converse with densely interlocked coral imagery, weighty nodes amongst the diaphanous calligraphy. These large-scale drawings bear the improvisational imprint of an artist best known for her sculptural work who moves with ease from plane to space and from the abstract to the concrete. The freedom and freshness imparted in the drawings relay the creative machinations, in form, structure, and line that underpin much of Jackson Jarvis’s three-dimensional work, as in Nest Stones and Umbilicus (2008).

As an environmental installation, Ancestors’ Bones evokes the connective tissue that binds generations and genuses, the animate and inanimate, the familial and strange. Jackson Jarvis allows the literal and indexical readings imparted by vintage photographs of black family and community in spare environs to linger but not define, to inform and influence but not proscribe intended meaning. Overlaid with natural and organic referents, the photographic trace becomes synonymous with the lifecycle of nature just as nature is ancestors’ bones. In Jackson Jarvis’s work, the regenerative forces of nature and the human spirit are entangled, nested and rooted. The compost place is Jackson Jarvis’s rich terrain, a source for form, context and creativity.

Martha Jackson Jarvis was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1952 and resides in Washington, DC. Her studio practice includes large-scale public commissions and nature based installations. Jackson Jarvis received her BA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and her MFA from Antioch University. Her first solo exhibit at the University of Delaware was in 1988, “The Gathering,” installed in the Old College Gallery.

The exhibition is on view in Mechanical Hall Gallery, University Museums, University of Delaware, Newark, DE from September 5 – December 9, 2012.



Today's News

September 7, 2012

Sotheby's at Chatsworth, features, for the first time, the work of a single artist, Barry Flanagan

Sweden's Nationalmuseum announces acquisition of a painting by artist Jan Lievens

Bruce Silverstein Gallery reunites seven artists to re-examine crucial moment in the history of American art

Forty Lots of James Bond memorabilia to be offered at an online-only auction without reserve

Concatenation. Signature, Seriality, Painting, a group show opens at Blain/Southern in London

Free app coincides with the opening of British artist Tony Cragg's exhibition in London

Exhibition of rare vintage Russian photographs opens at Nailya Alexander Gallery

Magician David Copperfield buys newly discovered 1960 Martin Luther King recording

Phillips de Pury & Co. announces highlights from its forthcoming Design & Nordic Design Auctions

Dmitri Plavinsky, 76, leading artist of Nonconformist Soviet and Contemporary Russian art, dies

Lu Zhengyuan presents a clever twist on the concepts of real and fake at Eli Klein Fine Art

Analia Saban's first solo exhibition in New York opens at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

National Portrait Gallery announces Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize 2012 shortlist

Bonhams Hong Kong offers stunning gems from jeweller to the stars Van Cleef & Arpels

Bonhams appoint Catherine Yaiche as its representative in France

Exhibition at Generali Foundation examines the gesture or method of "counter-production"

University of Virginia's Fralin Museum of Art photography exhibit makes science visible

Lady Gaga's meat dress to be shown at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Martha Jackson Jarvis: Ancestors' Bones on view at the University Museums, University of Delaware

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