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Thomas C. Jackson

About Tom Jackson


Quotes About the Artwork of Thomas C. Jackson


"…there are specific American images and American traditions… Another maybe more up-to-date way of approaching this subject is American Slice 17 by Thomas Jackson …; a suburban landscape in digital media. These American Slices - including American Slice 21 and American Slice 22 – deal in a seductive way with the flood of images that surround us; the repetition, the extrapolation of formal elements, the different chunks of contemporary reality – they are all strong in their diverse compositions."

Christoph Heinrich, the Polly and Mark Addison Curator of
Modern & Contemporary Art at the Denver Art Museum, formerly the Chief
Curator of Contemporary Art, Collection and Exhibitions at the Hamburg
Kunsthalle in Germany


 “A cluster of photographs in the show, which began to emerge as early as the initial slide review and selection, explore the American Landscape… Thomas C. Jackson’s uncanny juxtaposition of a woman’s hair curlers with nocturnal views of Las Vegas and Washington D.C., explore the stranger side of Americana.”

Ted Mann
Assistant Curator for Collections
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC


“Tom’s pairings and sequences rarely have literal explanations. More often, he is responding like a poet, sensing the visual relationships like rhythm, shape, or color. And in doing so he converts the images of daily life, no matter how clichéd, back into moments of wonder.”

Terry Pitts
Executive Director
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA


“Jackson’s photographs are evocative of generations of important American and international photographers, while not imitative of them. His images of casual scenes within the urban environment call to mind images by André Kertész and Eugene Atget. Similarly, Lee Friedlander’s work in both the urban and natural environments also feels connected. It is perhaps Robert Frank’s seminal mid-1950s series The Americans that finds greatest resonance with Tom Jackson’s work. They seem to share the same guiding spirit in capturing the essence of what it means to be an American, albeit separated by more than fifty years. Unlike Frank, however, Jackson’s pairings and compilations create a new view of the American scene – one which captures a sense of life in the early 21st century with its emphasis on visual over-stimulation. In Jackson’s hands, the ordinary becomes extraordinary and we see our own world with fresh eyes.

Sean Ulmer
Curator of Collections and Exhibitions
Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Cedar Rapids, IA


“The paintings of Cedar Rapids artist Tom Jackson display the contrast and similarities between two well-known Iowa pastimes: political involvement and state fairs. Iowa's caucuses and early primaries signal the start of a long political season that features prominently in presidential campaigns. State fairs represent activism on a different level, an annual tradition of participation and interaction. Both share crowds of people, over-the-top marketing, and a sensory overload that are all explored through Jackson's large-scale paintings."

Michelle Robinson
Curator for Collections and Exhibitions
Figge Art Museum, Davenport, IA


“…a sly nod to traditional views of Americana”

Michael Morain
Des Moines Register


Walking down the New York City sidewalk or walking through a garden or city park: Thomas C. Jackson conjures this act of passing by and pausing, to stop and see the flowers, in detail. “NYC Bouquets,” and “Queen Anne’s Lace,” large photorealistic oil paintings on canvas, are full of light, be it urban or rural, natural or artificial. Jackson captures the air and mist of nature as proficiently as he does clear cellophane that wraps cut flowers at the corner store.

Jackson’s ink and watercolor works are fluid and minimal, even when the line and color imply a bleeding out and off the paper in its specific containment, such as with “But You Were Thinking It.” “Flower Emerging” is a merging of Jackson’s subjects—his beautiful floral works turned loosened petals, falling; his photorealism turned loosely figurative. The ink and paint strokes are lines that act as verbs, creating body, intimating body shifting, an emergence that though not simply begun or radically finished, is in process.

Michaela Mullin, writing for Moberg Gallery, Des Moines, IA


The diverse works of Thomas C. Jackson are shown here together: oil paintings, photographs, and paper collage works. The five paintings capture the Iowa State Fair through intensely different treatments of fore- and background. Though figures populate these fair scenes, the emphasis on food vendors and carneys is different than that of the fairgoers, as if those who offer the experience are more fixed and already filled in than those who are there to receive the experience, to be transfixed and ready to be filled by the whole event. The rides, prizes, and exit signs get top billing in these engaging works that mostly appear as night shots of the crowds and the lights, in renderings so colorful one can imagine them as large scale spin art suddenly stopped, configured, and focused into Midwest tableaux.

On exhibit here are also three works from Jackson’s photo series, “American Cipher,” where he juxtaposes both related and unrelated images to create a dialogue between them, and with the viewer as well. In a most refined and more complex way of playing pictorial versions of rebus word puzzles, Jackson’s photos make us attempt connections, but they also suggest that sense is not always the most important thing to make. The spliced images are symmetrical, as are the compositions within each frame, but the subjects are so distinct—cross section of a peach paired with dried, darkened red roses, for instance—that there is no simple story. What is left is a celebration of formal technique and an embracing of fragments in their combinatorial wholeness.

Jackson’s three rice paper watercolor collages, “Maquette 1,” “Maquette 7,” and “Maquette 2,” create a visual moment of quiet contemplation away from the painted crowds and mental activity the photos invite.

Michaela Mullin, writing for Moberg Gallery, Des Moines, IA


“…will inspire the viewer to pause and reflect upon carefully chosen Americana images… These pieces demand attention and thought; some even bordering on controversial.”

Karolyn Sherwood
Karolyn Sherwood Gallery, formerly Des Moines, IA


“…turns his eye to the social and topographical landscape… depict scenes that may be mundane, but they’re also numinous… the diptychs juxtapose scenes and objects in a manner that’s at once unexpected and somehow obvious… the net effect is both memorable and deeply ambiguous…”

John Herbert
Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids, IA


“There is no code to figuring them out. There is only the presentation, and viewers can make their own guesses about what Jackson is suggesting… -- like photos on a magazine page without a written explanation to make sense of them… The intrigue keeps a viewer interested…”

Amanda Pierre
Des Moines Register


(About the work of Thomas C. Jackson and Priscilla Steele in two-person show) “Both masterful. Working with the same models at the same time, they each have taken their perspectives in different directions. The human figure is the springboard of the visual conversation that occurs between the two artists. Each artist, in their own way, have pushed the work to abstraction.”

Chawne Paige
Waterloo Center for the Arts


“I see the entire exhibition as an installation that engages the viewer as a single work of art. Rather than viewing individual pieces with considerable wall space between them, Jackson fills the room with almost an overload of visual information. Our selective mind and eye then filters it out and makes connections amongst the images evoking beauty, emotions, and memories. Each viewer takes from the show his/her own personal emotional history that the show has produced for them.”

Bill Teeple
ICON Iowa Contemporary Art


“At Moberg Gallery, Thomas Jackson’s “Child’s Play” continues a 40-day run providing an ironic look at the ambiguity of American character. For a decade now, Jackson has been composing stacked images that consider a subject from seemingly incongruous points of view. His choice of subjects has been influenced by Robert Frank’s mid 1950’s series, ‘The Americans,’ … Jackson has been trying to do the same thing for the new millennium. While most of his imagery began as a photographic safari, he now translates much of it into paintings and ink brush drawings… The dominant ambiguity of Jackson’s new show stacks images of child’s play with deadly serious stuff like handguns, violence, sex and advertising.

Jim Duncan
Cityview, Des Moines


“…enigmatic pairings of photos…”

Des Moines Register


 “Jackson’s show… immediately reminded me of Robert Frank’s photographs, “The Americans.” And there is a visual relationship – with a skewed twist.
Like a mischievous instigator, Jackson… creates open-ended scenarios with his photographic diptychs that stack two seemingly unrelated images, one above the other. These unlikely combinations allow viewers to interpret the work according to their own perceptions, emotions and experiences…”

Judith Winter, freelance writer
The Gazette, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City


“Jackson works between the edges of realism and abstraction. In his paintings, he often concentrates highly realistic detail into specific sections of his compositions, especially the candidates. He frequently leaves the rest of the painting loose and unfinished, as if these areas are unimportant because they’re not in the camera’s eye.”

Bruce Carter
River Cities’ Reader


“The Cedar Rapids artist keeps pushing doors down and merging diverse media.”

Artscene, January 2007, Des Moines