Robert C. Jackson builds on the extensive history of the still-life genre by ennobling familiar, yet nostalgic objects with a playful regard. He distills the composition to certain essential elements in a foreshortened picture plane. Poised atop his iconic, colorful beverage crates, Jackson animates a regular cast of characters, including stacks of pastries, anthropomorphized apples, classic figurines, and balloon animals. Jackson conjures up scenes that delight in their illusory spectacle—his clever compositions relish in absurd impossibilities that speak to the very act of creating (or destroying) itself. As if overlapping the frames of a film, Jackson allows the viewer to visualize the before, during, and after effects of his “destilled” props.
Jackson’s transfixing work makes it easy for viewers to suspend their disbelief. But there’s an element of self-awareness in Jackson’s paintings that makes one conscious of the process of being fooled. If artist and magician can both be described as illusionists, then Jackson’s Day At the Office (above) is akin to a magician revealing the mechanism behind his tricks. Painted at human scale, Day At the Office looks like a scene the viewer could walk into, pick up a brush, and start painting.
Robert C. Jackson has been the focus of 33 solo shows and over 100 group shows. His national exposure includes prominent venues such as the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art, the Butler Art Institute, the Greenville Museum, the Brandywine River Museum of Art, the Tullman Collection, the Evansville Museum of Art, the Philbrook Museum, the South Dakota Museum of Art, the Islip Art Museum, and the Hunter Museum.