On The Road, Triptych, 2015

Artist statement

"Art is a way of living." This attitude, expressed so succinctly by Willem de Kooning, is an alternative that I embrace wholeheartedly. It is the Herculean choice - which road to take - the easy way or the hero's journey. 

This expedition of becoming is never traveled alone. It opens a need for support, as well as dialog with others of like mind. There is a long standing tradition and a deep well of artists that serve as signpost and guide. These kindred spirits have become for me a source of inspiration and a reservoir of courage and strength. Some personal standouts come to mind: Eugène Atget, Constantin Brâncuși, Brassaï, Paul Cézanne, Marc Chagall, Joseph Cornell, Alberto Giacometti, Philip Guston, Henri Matisse, Giorgio Morandi, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Aaron Siskind, David Smith and those unknown artists of Lascaux.

As I work, I endeavor to be open - abandoning all preconceptions - to feel my way and allow those mysterious and intangible forces to come into play. To find that place of delight and surprise that occurs with the discovery of the unexpected. I aspire to transcend the 'what is' (the concrete reality), following my heart to reveal an image that reflects a deeper reality - my own humanity. I want my work to speak authentically to the essentially human in all of us - life and death, magic and mystery, tragedy and comedy, awe and wonder, the sublime and the absurd.

I wish to follow Rimbaud's lead; to seek liberation - make myself a "seer" - arrive at the unknown. It is a difficult and uncertain path requiring everything that I am and everything I hope to become. If I should ever lose my way, I will think of de Kooning, that 'Slipping Glimpser,' and his touchstone - the Mesopotamian idols:

"I used to cut out a lot of mouths and then I painted those figures and then I put the mouth more or less in the place where it was supposed to be. It always turned out to be very beautiful and it helped me immensely to have this real thing. I don't know why I did it with the mouth. Maybe the grin. It's rather like the Mesopotamian idols, you know. They always stand up straight looking to the sky with this smile, like they were just astonished about the forces of nature, you feel – not about problems they had with one another. That I was very conscious of; and it was something to hang on to."              Content is a Glimpse, 1960                  

Joyce J. Jackson, 2016