CHICAGO.-Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago presents an exhibition of new and recent works by Chicago-based artist Carol Jackson. Carol Jackson's signs, sculptures, gouaches and drawings use common, everyday "signatureless" styles to let loose the grandiose morality within the picturesque languages and visuals of advertising. Her work is a bitterly humorous send up of the demands and promises commercial representations make for goods, be they detergent, food, or real estate. Long focusing on a series of meticulously hand-tooled leather reworkings of both store advertising and real estate development signage, Jackson replaces the found text with disdainful, mistrustful and self-depreciating thoughts that sales language represses. What remains is the epic longing and promissory nature of the address.
The visceral craft of the leather works has been complimented in recent years by drawings and gouaches made in a style between mid-century Social Realism and children's book illustration. These works on paper, while aesthetically calling to mind proverbs, fables or cautionary tales, offer ambiguous scenes of animals morphing into topographical formations and militia men training in luxury mansions. The constant litany of uncomfortable psychic spaces in these works challenge the easy detachment that "us and them" moral certitude tries to provide. Instead, this better-living-through-design world apocalyptically documents the raging ethical undertow within commercial space that we ignore at our own risk. Jackson's practice collectively poses tough and damning questions of our complicity with commercial signs and the epic narrative of desire, fantasy, belonging and otherness the signs evoke within us.
Her recent exhibitions include group exhibitions at the Smart Museum of Art, Chicago, and the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, and solo exhibitions at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, and Changing Role-Move Over Gallery, Naples, Italy. Jackson received an Artadia Individual Artist Grant in 2002 and a Roger Brown Residency from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006.