= The Crawford Arts Review: Artistic Integrity in Depicting the Dignity of the Male

Monday, 7 July 2014

Artistic Integrity in Depicting the Dignity of the Male

New Paintings at Hauser & Wirth
Until Saturday 26 July

Richard Jackson, with an insouciant maleness that speaks to his Californian heritage, in these new works makes free with the intimate parts of the male sex. In Pain-t (2012–2014), a row of sculpted male figures, trousers down and bent over in an ecstasy one supposes of self-loathing, spew the liquid contents of their lower bowels all over the pristine gallery wall behind them. The spews are Technicolor spews, of course, made out of paint.

Examine the figures closely and you will see where the paint went in (at the mouth aperture) and, having travelled down the digestive tract so to speak, where it exits – at the anal aperture. It’s all done with the gentlest humour imaginable, not to mention an exuberance that trumps good taste. I particularly liked the fact that some of the paint had, possibly accidentally, dribbled onto the inside of some of the trouser waistbands. 

Jackson’s paintworks were all created in situ in the gallery – but the artist has left in place all the piping, tubes and gear pumps that show how it was done. And I expect Health and Safety would have objected if anyone had suggested a live show. Only joking.

Laughter turns to pain with Clown (2013–2014), a sad but brightly coloured upside-down creature composed of wood, steel, cloth, aquaresin, paint, paintball gun and electronics and where the paintball gun is the sculpture’s mechanized penis.

The Clown too has spurted on the gallery wall, and, while the paint was still wet, Jackson has tacked up four small canvases, their canvas side to the wall, to collect the results.

By this time you will likely notice that dried-on splashes and dribbles of
paint adorn walls, floor and most other surfaces. We can thus appreciate a kaleidoscopic primary-coloured mess without getting any of it on our persons. Here and there empty 5-litre cans of paint stand on the floor, adding to the illusion. 

House of Pain-t (2012–2014) affords us a view inside an intense and cantilevered structure jazzed up with neon (see pic). As you gaze in, your imagination fills in what might or might not have gone on inside this hermetically sealed space. 

Richard Jackson
House of Pain-t
Fibre board, acrylic paint, glass, neon, hardware, air tanks
287 x 380 x 320 cm / 113 x 149 5/8 x 126 in
Installation view, ‘Richard Jackson. New Paintings’, Hauser & Wirth, London, England, 2014
© Richard Jackson
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Photo: Alex Delfanne

Shower Room (2013–2014) is also superbly understated. Picture a large cubicle, clinically white-tiled within, and empty except for what look like chromium-plated shower heads. Here primary-coloured paints are used to suggest the earlier spurting of body fluids. As the viewer, you know it’s paint but your imagination can probably take you to quite a few grisly moments in horror movies as you stare at the “scenes” which appear to be depicted inside.

Copy Room (2014) records what all manner of girls have done at the office party when sufficiently drunk. A woman sits astride the lens plate of a photocopier, photocopying her vulva – and, I like to think, since multiple copies litter the floor, repeating the action until she gets a good shot. I didn’t mind a bit because Jackson has redressed the balance perfectly by how he depicts his males. Eye opening.

Hauser & Wirth
23 Savile Row

(corner of New Burlington Place)
London W1
Opening hours:

Tue–Sat 10am–6pm

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