MMX Gallery is delighted to present ATO>MIC, an exhibition of unique Luminograms by Michael G Jackson, his second solo show in the gallery. The “>” (greater-than sign) in the ato>mic title of the series is a link and the difference between larger and smaller scales of the artistic representation of miniature still life painting and enormity of an atomic explosion. These two influencing ideas have inspired Jackson’s creative process.
Instead of using carving stone to depict three-dimensional quality of sculptural works for example, he uses numerous camera-less techniques to combine scales and the real with the unreal. The canvas for the still life painting is replaced here by photosensitive paper as he draws and paints using light in his darkroom studio.
At first glance the viewer may only see geometric spherical shapes with added lines and rectangles on tea toned silver gelatin paper. "The supremacy of pure artistic feeling" rather than the visual depiction of objects assign to the art movement of Suprematism comes to one’s mind. Similarly, like a giant of abstract art Kasimir Malevich, Jackson wants the viewer to look further, deeper than one might usually. The feeling of ‘sensation’ of the ATO>MIC prints, the sharpness of the forms, the intensity defying its size to condensed 9 x 7 inches’ paper, make it all the more dramatic to look at. It takes the viewer to another level of fantastical world of creation.
The images may be reminiscent of the first milliseconds of atomic bomb explosions captured by Harold Edgerton's Rapatronic camera in the early 1950s but also visualise the thought of Maholy-Nagy’s bold visions in the Bauhaus’s movement toward the idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, or “total work of art.” The 3D concepts that were first expanded in the same art movement by El Lissitzky a hundred years ago, are also explored here by Jackson’s drowned thin line within the third of the image. In his vision, the line reflects a shelf with the object on top, by adding the weight to it, the gravity pushing them down. Or maybe the thin line is just the horizon, where the enormous atomic blast took place…?
Beyond these flat forms of two dimensional ‘lumino-graphic’ works on paper, the purest form of photography (‘light drawing’) lays a visible path to three-dimensional imaginary world, realised in precise composition, rhythm and warm earthy tones of these works. It’s up to the viewer to decide what they prefer to see and take with them.
As Wassily Kandinsky once said; “Imagination is what allows your mind to discover.”