Henry Jackson is a contemporary artist working out of San Francisco, California; he works primarily in the abstract but will often incorporate deconstructed human figures into his paintings to create a multi-layered and complicated composition that demands focused attention.His paintings are eerily beautiful – you’re initially drawn to the simplistic beauty of the luminous colors he so effortless marries together to create a unified composition. On a second, more careful examination, the figure in the foreground begins to manifest its disparate parts into a recognizable human form.
In Untitled, (#58-08), 2008 [below], the frenetic, vertical lines that make up the figure call to mind Cy Twombly. There’s a good amount of negative space with a tightly formed cluster of color and line at the bottom of the canvas. Jackson is able to achieve the difficult balance and unity with an enviable effortlessness. Of course, the abstracted lines and color fields are only part of this painting. The figure itself is a commanding and sinister presence. Especially troubling is the gaping dark hole where the mouth should be. On the one hand, the entire figure is abstracted so a well-defined mouth would have looked out of place anyway. Jackson creates a chaotic void by mere suggestion. It’s a painting powerful in its simplicity. No line, color or form is unnecessary or frivolous.If Willem de Kooning and Francis Bacon pulled an Andy Warhol and Jean Michael Basquiat and decided to combine their singular artistic styles onto one canvas, they’d probably create something close to a Henry Jackson painting.