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With the full force of winter upon us and the holidays drawing near, there is perhaps no better time for a flight of fancy. The incredible, whimsical photographs of Thomas Jackson’s environmental installations will lift your spirits in his solo show Emergent Behavior at Miller Yezerski Gallery in Boston’s SoWa arts district through December 23, 2016.
With a gift for making the painstaking look serendipitous, Jackson scouts the most spectacular landscapes – many on the beaches of California – and introduces some mundane, everyday item like clear plastic take-out containers or bright pink plastic cups in a staged grouping modeled on the “emergent behavior” of, say, a swarm of bees. The effect is an astonishing juxtaposition of the natural and manufactured, real and imaginary, stationary and flowing. Above all, they are big, colorful delights.
Sure, there is an underlying message about how our throw-away culture is impacting the environment but instead of scolding, Jackson delivers a gorgeous appreciation of the natural landscape. As his objects float across a mountainside, glow in the dusk or rise with the wind along the shore, they blend playful imaginary scenarios with stunning backdrops of the real world. His delicious color combinations are especially enticing, with an explosion of pink against grey rocks and sky, a ribbon of bright orange offset by yellow and green fields, or bright multi-color puffs dancing over a pastel beach.
Jackson’s installations are not only inspired, but they are inspiring. The considerable toil and machinations of dealing with unpredictable weather conditions, heavy equipment and erratic materials are entirely absent from view. Instead, we are treated to the opposite: dramatic scenes with vibrant energy and that special, thrilling sensation of capturing a fleeting instant. Jackson’s photographs fill you with air, light and color – an enthralling flight of fancy that is particularly restorative during the shortest days of the year.
For more information about this show, go to: http://www.milleryezerskigallery.com/
Feature Image: “Take Out Containers no. 1, Montara California, 2016” (detail) by Thomas Jackson (courtesy of the artist and Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston).