Tomashi Jackson

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Artist Statement

I am interested in the perception of color and the value of human life in public space using the history of school desegregation, contemporary resegregation, and geometric abstraction as catalysts. My practice establishes formal and intuitive processes discovered in the space between languages of optical color theory and legislative governance around societal color interaction, with contemporary implications. I investigate relationships between color, sound, complex narrative, and emotion, leading back to color. Imagining a conceptual loop around figuration, materiality, and light. I am also interested in the relationship my paintings have with artificial and natural light. Color is optical and racialized; projection, reflection, obstruction, and beautiful.

My paintings have evolved from a framework that questioned my ability to embed value into materials that had lost their value. For a time I referred to them as “lucky bastards.” I created substrates from discarded, collapsible materials such as translucent plastic sheets, scrim, and medical gauze. Painting, collage, knitting and printmaking embed layers of narrative and meaning into surfaces that are simultaneously strong and made vulnerable by gravitational tension- evoking intimacy, domesticity, and flesh even when the figure is absent.

Influenced by years working as a young muralist, I have a desire to embed my work with issues of public concern into work that functions in private spaces. I intended to challenge my work to bridge public and private spaces via subject matter. I wondered if historically significant narratives be felt without reliance upon the figure as my centerpiece. Similar questions have arisen from making my video collage works. Can a fiberwork be a painting? Can these videos be paintings?

My current work is informed by my research around the groundbreaking NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund, founded by Thurgood Marshall in 1940, and Interaction of Color written by Josef Albers, published by Yale in 1963. My research visualizes the legislative history of the landmark Supreme Court case, Brown et al vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas by exploring Albers’ “Color Problem” methodology for teaching color against our violent contemporary backdrop of resegregation. This inquiry has expanded to include contemporary moving and still imagery, illustrating the current state of social policies influenced by perceptions of color imposed upon people in public space.

I have made archival laserjet prints made from stills of my video painting collages that bring the ecosystem of my process full circle, pressing every element together. Returning to photographic printmaking as the place where the figure re-emerges from color field painting. Printmaking methods embed and at times abstract photographic documentation of the five cases in my paintings, sculptures, and videos. All that I produce is rooted in principles of painting, sculpture and drawing.






Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT.
Master of Fine Art, Painting and Printmaking
Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture and Planning Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Master of Science in Art, Culture, and Technology
The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY Bachelor of Fine Arts

San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA., Experimental Film/ Video
Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, Art History
Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, Public Art
Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, MA, Informal Economies

Double Dip, February 2016, Yale School of Art, New Haven, CT.
Tools for Remediation (Red76 Artist Collective) ­ Part of Hippie Modernism, November 2015, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ideas City (Art in Odd Places), May 2015, New Museum, N.Y., NY.
RESPOND, January 2015, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY.
History Design Studio, April 2014, Hutchins Center for African and African American Research Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Living As Form, February 2014, Carpenter Center for Visual Arts Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Love Economy, (Solo Exhibition), Emerging Visions of the African American Experience, January 2014, Michigan State University Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, East Lansing, Michigan
The Measure of All Things, January 9 2014, University of California Irvine Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Irvine, California
Ex•ile, October 2013, El Rincon Social, Houston, Texas
Bring Your Own Beamer, October 6 2012, Knockdown Center, Queens, NY.
Art in Odd Places: Model, October 2012, New York, NY.
Bruceforma, April 8, 2012, Museum of Modern Art PS1 Performance Dome, Long Island City, NY.
Experience Economies 4: A Chamber Play, April 2011, Harvard University Signet Society, Cambridge, MA.
The Brucennial/ Bruceforma 2, February 2010, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, N.Y., NY.
Liberating Landscapes, August 2009, Togonon Gallery, S.F., CA.|
Drawing Atmosphere, March 2008, Super Front Architectural Exhibition Space Brooklyn, NY
For All We Know, October 2007, The Cooper Union N.Y., NY
Soul on Rice: A Two Woman Exhibition, July 2001, Togonon Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Fever Grass, Benjamin Menschel Fellowship Exhibition, November 2000, The Cooper Union N.Y., NY.

Toby Devan Lewis Prize 2016, ​Yale School of Art
Blair Dickinson Memorial Scholarship 2015­2016, Yale University School of Art
Alice Kimball English Traveling Fellowship 2015, Yale University School of Art
JUNCTURE: Art and Human Rights Law Fellowship 2015, Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School
MIT Office of the Dean of Graduate Education, Graduate Student Life Grant 2012 (Awarded for TalkDraw@MIT 2012) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
MIT Office of the Dean of Graduate Education, Diversity Fellowship 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture, Cambridge, MA.
Council for the Arts MIT, Project Grant
(Awarded for TalkDraw@MIT 2011) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
MIT Presidential Tuition Fellowship 2010 and 2011, Massachusetts Institute of Technology School of Architecture, Cambridge, MA.
Richard Lewis Bloch Memorial Prize 2010,The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, N.Y., NY.
Benjamin Menschel Fellowship for Creative Inquiry 2008, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, N.Y., NY.
Full­Tuition Scholarship 2005, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, N.Y., NY.
Certificate of Appreciation 2004, The City of Los Angeles. Awarded for the Los Angeles District 1 mural, “Evolution of a Community”
Public Art Matching Grant 2003,Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs
Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center Community Mural Award 2002, Precita Eyes Mural Arts Center. Awarded for participating in the design and completion of the Hunters’ Point neighborhood mural, “Soul Journey” S.F., CA.
San Francisco Art Institute Merit Scholarship Award 1998, San Francisco Art Institute, S.F., CA.

 “YUAG explores art and human rights” by Sara Tabin, Yale Daily News­explores­art­and­human­rights/
“Game recognize game” by Ivan Kirwin­Taylor, The Yale Herald­recognize­game/
“Black leaders talk sports, art” by ​S​arah Stein, Yale Daily News­leaders­talk­sports­art/
“Event explores intersection of art and athletics” by Tea Beer, Yale Daily News
“Thesis show highlights painting and printmaking” by Veena McCoole, Yale Daily News­show­highlights­painting­and­printmaking/
“Black History Mini Docs: History Made Presents Tomashi Jackson”
“Living As Form” Combines Art and Activism” by Caleb M. Lewis, The Harvard Crimson­as­form­the­nomadic­version­carpenter­center­caleb­lewis/
“Rhythm and Blues: TOMASHI JACKSON” by Cora Fisher, BOMBLOG Bomb Magazine
“Tomashi Jackson’s Invisible Labor” by Christian Holland​­jacksons­invisible­labor
“Innovate or Die­Boston” by Ruth Erickson, Art Papers,

“Community Unveiled in Mural” by Daren Briscoe, Los Angeles Times­mural25