Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to present Jackie Nickerson's third solo exhibition with the gallery. The show includes her latest series of photographs titled Terrain, comprised of images taken in Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
Terrain is an investigation into the relationship between individuals and the landscape in relation to food production and farming practices. In these photographs, utilitarian and natural objects have been stacked, coiled, balanced and held, obstructing the subject and forming classical geometric compositions. Nickerson’s sculptural, hybrid beings provide as much visual information on food cultivation as they do about the people depicted.
In her representation of the process where crops and raw materials become consumer products, Nickerson transcends marginalizing her subjects, which can be an effect of photographic documentation, by taking the focus pointedly away from individual identity or even a collective characterization. She comments that, "gazing steadily at the point at which one element meets another, Terrain asks us to think about these imprints left by the material processes of work as the evidence of our presence on the earth, and to think about how contemporary human beings, living in a western urban environment, can relate to the metaphysics of the labor which enables our lives."
The series also includes images that focus on inanimate objects and materials that have become ubiquitous at the sites of almost any type of production. Plastic sheets embody a veil of separation between the viewer and the subject that poetically protrudes and presses against it. What we may consider detritus has become central to the landscape and is infinitely repurposed. As described by the artist, these become "lived spaces of human activity" where "hands and plants, limbs and fabric, bodies and soil hold close to one another". With a formalist approach that weaves shape, color and subjectivity into delicate depictions, Nickerson remains rooted in her firm and tightly honed visual language.