The National Gallery of the Cayman Islands (NGCI) presents John Reno Jackson: A Heron Amongst The Storm — the artist’s inaugural solo show at NGCI’s Esterly Tibbetts Highway venue. On view in the Dart Auditorium Community Gallery, the exhibition features a series of paintings and accompanying drawings that collectively chart the artist’s ongoing journey of creative experimentation and self-discovery. Highlighting NGCI’s ongoing support of both early career and more established local artists, this project forms part of the Gallery’s wider effort to provide young Caymanian artists with a professional platform in which to exhibit their work.
An emerging contemporary Caymanian painter, Jackson’s work utilises the formal language of abstraction to explore familiar subjects and the wider landscape of the Caymanian cultural experience. Reflecting the artist’s sustained investigation of his chosen medium, his paintings “explore a series of rhetorical questions – from the nature of representation to the tension between abstraction and figuration”, says the exhibition’s curator William Helfrecht. “While abstract work can sometimes feel complex or inaccessible”, Helfrecht continues, “Jackson’s work is filled with familiar references for those who take the time to look closely at his paintings, using bold colours and expressive brushwork to convey ideas and sentiments that are universally relatable yet distinctly Caymanian in character”.
The featured artworks, which include twelve paintings on canvas and a selection of intimate drawings in graphite and charcoal, are installed around a reading table with accompanying chairs and a selection of books for members of the public to enjoy and peruse. With titles exploring the history of art, visual culture and Caymanian society, this interactive library is composed of volumes that have directly inspired the artist and his work. Within the space, visitors are encouraged to sit and share ideas related to the works on display or simply expressive themselves creatively using the paper and pencils the artist has provided.
Unified by an overarching interest in representations of the body and its relationship to the self, Jackson’s paintings and drawings consider questions of individual and communal identity, as well as the ways in which people relate to one another in a society such as a Cayman. Stylistically inspired by a variety of artistic influences— from the twentieth century Expressionist movement to notable abstract painters like Willem de Kooning and pioneering Caymanian artist Bendel Hydes—Jackson’s works largely veer away from idealising the figure, prioritising brushwork, composition and colour to creatively reinterpret his chosen subjects rather than simply recording them in exact detail. Speaking of his inaugural solo exhibition at the National Gallery Jackson remarks: “my works look beyond what is immediately visible in order to emphasise each painting’s expressive capacity and reveal something authentic or hidden within it”. “This series of paintings and the wider exhibition seeks to create a dialogue between the artworks themselves and the viewing audience”, the artist continues, “extending an invitation to visitors to participate in the conversation around what it means to be an artist, and further what it means to be a Caymanian in our contemporary era.”
John Reno Jackson: A Heron Amongst The Storm opens to the public on 04 June 2022 and is on view in the NGCI Dart Auditorium Community Gallery through 05 August 2022. Opening hours are Monday – Saturday, 10:00am–5:00pm and admission is free. For more information email: email@example.com or call 945-8111. Further details about the exhibition and accompanying programme of events can be found on NGCI’s website: https://www.nationalgallery.org.ky/whats-on/exhibitions/john-reno-jackson/ .
For information about the artist visit: https://www.johnrenojackson.com/ , or follow us on social media: @natgalcayman, @johnreno
About the Artist:
John Reno Jackson is an emerging contemporary Caymanian painter. He attended foundation courses in painting and drawing at the London Art Academy in 2015. Since then, he has continued his painterly explorations through a series of abstract works made in Grand Cayman. Jackson has exhibited at Paulo - PADA Studios in Barreiro, Portugal, where he attended an artist’s residency in 2020, and at Artisan Space in London, UK (2020). In 2022 he will be attending the Caribbean Linked VI Artist Residency in Aruba before enrolling at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, where he will be completing his BFA in Fine Art. His work can be found in private collections across Canada, the United Kingdom, Israel, the Netherlands, and Portugal, and is represented in the permanent collection of NGCI, where it has featured in the exhibitions Island of Women: Life at Home During our Maritime Years (2020), Reimagined Futures – 2nd Cayman Islands Biennial (2021) and The People’s Collection – A 25-Year Cultural Legacy (2022)