Robert C. Jackson

C. Jackson

In his monograph on Robert C. Jackson, Philip Eliasoph PhD colorfully proclaims, “The paintings we are about to examine are inescapably a bundle of contradictions, satirical complexities, and witty subterfuge. Essentially, Jackson is a uniquely self-realized painter. His feisty independence is fortified with healthy dosages of non-conforming eccentricity, with a small touch of screwball nuttiness.” In the foreword of the same monograph, Henry Adams PhD reveals a similar sentiment, “Notably, this is also the sort of strange mix of sensibilities one finds in the best American novelists, such as Mark Twain.”

Robert’s own words clearly reveal his intent. “Right from the start of my artistic interest, I was drawn to still life. However, it doesn’t take long for still life to get stale if you follow the same recipe. Intuitively I knew that I had to shake things up to keep it exciting and relevant for me. 

The first thing I wanted to escape or change was the tabletop. Most still life resides on a table. How many tables can one look at? After much thought and looking I finally stumbled across my first soda crate and I was in love. Here were bright primary and secondary colors, text with vibrant words, wonderful patinas, all encased in a slice of Americana and destined to keep me engaged. 

After that, I gave much thought to exactly what I should paint on these crates. If I continued to paint the expected, I’d be wasting my newly found support. So, I made a pact with myself to always paint beginning with a concept, a narrative, or idea beyond just painting for the sake of painting. My concept had to be as important as my craft. 

My paintings are designed to be conceptual and narrative based arrangements to stoke the imaginations of viewers. There is always something beyond the initial “muscle flexing” of realism. Props are my anthropomorphic characters acting out dramas on soda pop stages. I construct little dioramas and with oil on a brush I immortalize the activity. I work pretty hard to create still lifes that tend to be anything but still. By infusing inanimate objects with a personality I am able to explore the human narrative outside of personal biases and leanings. In some ways I think of myself as a director, creating a play. The soda crates are my stage with apples, balloon dogs, and oreos as my thespians. Act 1, is laid out for the viewer. But I stop there. I want my viewer’s to be compelled to wonder about Act II and III.

Often, even I find the resulting stories quite amusing. As a matter of fact, I enjoy using the taboo of humor in my paintings and take it as a challenge to create humorous works that have a lasting impact. My hope is that others get a smile or laugh too.”