SUZANNE JACKSON : ANOTHER ANGLE OF VISION
text by Rosanna Albertini
about Suzanne Jackson’s “holding on to a sound” at O – TOWN HOUSE, Los Angeles
“The geography of our consciousness of reality has enormously complex coasts and is broken up by any number of mountains and lakes.”
“There is no mirror that shows us ourselves out of ourselves because there is no mirror that can draw us out of ourselves. Another soul would be necessary, another angle of vision or thought.”
A painting, maybe? This is me, the painter’s granddaughter. He used to hold my hand after dinner as if a journey was starting. It was, all around the perimeter of his studio where I slept my best nights. Before getting into sleep, we moved from a painting to another. There were no words. I learned that landscapes, those painted by him, were a thin layer of reality he had brought home for us to see again, the feeling of their light.
Smell of turpentine. And smell of cows began in my memory, of grass and mountain cheese. Paintings were not mirrors of the land, neither of our perceptions. A mixture of now and then, seventy years after, tells me that we held hands while a part of us slipped out of our bodies to join the painted image, the invisible soul of her. Like flying for real, not dreaming. I was too young to be aware what it was. Thinking? Even now I avoid it. Art asks for another angle, many many others.
With Suzanne Jackson I messed up titles and artworks. I’m going to find the correct combination. But, for a moment, I like to miss it. I stay with her suggestion: “holding on to a sound.” I open our discovery of her paintings with a Mexican poem from Nahuacatle.
In the house of paintings
the singing begins
With flowers you write,
O Giver of Life:
with songs you give color,
with songs you shade
those who must live on the earth.
Having the sound to continue in her and prolonging its waves in her painted and sculpted work, Suzanne Jackson grabs the texture of the space she is in. Sounds spread and travel without geometry, they hit the chambers of our ears like the light hits the receptive sticks in our eyes. So does this artist, a woman of my age, a mature woman. She hits our soul. In each piece is the geography of her feelings and thoughts in a specific moment: valleys and streams and spots of joy, sunny, next to the bloody moments or dark layers of…I don’t know if to call them colors…they are personal reverberations of the living, so intense that wood, paper, fabrics fold and turn and adapt to her need to escape flatness, maybe also the verbal simplification.
A long scroll becomes a solidified wave on the wall. We can read the feelings. Stories have been filtered, some marks remains. The response to her painted reality is a preverbal silence. The chest filled with emotions.
The sigle pieces expand, wrinkle and contract, accordion like.
If the surface is flat, sometimes, the painted action is not. How our consciousness opens up: by layers, ideas at times, the flesh other times, and not without lacerations. Red wounds. It’s the theater of life.
Marylin and Maya watch fog: maybe the most naturalistic of this group of recent artworks by Suzanne Jackson. It’s a very small watercolor, two open hands joined by the thumbs could frame it. It stops me like a bullet. Close and far images will disappear. They are devoured by the big mouth of fog like memories fading through time. I can’t stop watching this tormented scene. From the void of my mind another painting surfaces and floats over Suzanne’s image without covering it. It’s maybe the same intent in both pieces, I don’t really know. The other painting is an Italian oil painting by Pietro Annigoni, the portrait of a country side villa near Pisa, which becomes lontananza (an absent distance) behind a gate in the foreground, and a tree. The gate seems closed forever. The singing stops.
Mark Rothko 1943
“The world is what an artist makes it.
And in this world the eye is only an element of the totality of experience, has no precedence over feelings and thoughts.
A picture is not its color, its form, or its anecdote, but an intent entity idea, where implications transcend any of these parts.”
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet, composed by Bernardo Soares, assistant bookkeeper in the city of Lisbon – Translated by Alfred Mac Adam, Exact Change, Boston, 1998
Mark Rothko, Writings on Art, edited by Miguel Lopez-Remiro, Yale University press, New Haven and London, 2006
Technicians of the Sacred, edited with commentaries by Jerome Rothenberg, Third edition, University of California press, 2017