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Jackson Martin was born and raised on The Farm, a commune in rural Tennessee. At age 8, he moved with his family to Nashville, TN where he graduated from Hume Fogg Academic High School in 1997. Martin went straight into college out of high school to Austin Peay State University where he studied general fine arts and was also involved in a study abroad program in Mexico. After completing 4 semesters Martin quit school and began traveling - walking, hitchhiking and trainhopping extensively throughout the United States. He finally returned to school and earned his BFA from Middle Tennessee State University in 2004. He then moved to Baltimore, MD to attend the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, earning his MFA in 2007. Martin regularly exhibits his sculptures and installations on a regional, national and international level. Venues include, among others, Sculpture Key West, Baltimore Sculpture Project, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and Pratt Institute Sculpture Park. International travel includes South Korea and Denmark for both exhibitions and residencies. Martin, his wife and daughter recently moved to Asheville, NC where he accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Art/Sculpture at the University of North Carolina.
My artistic practice includes sculpture, installation and photography. I am attracted to nontraditional fiber-based media that has historically been utilized for industrial applications. I reassemble and reorganize layers of these fabrics into wearable sculptural objects, as well as immersive, interactive environments. I employ photography in order to accompany my sculptures and as a means of "sketching" out ideas through regular wanderings with my camera.
After literally deconstructing my three-piece wedding suit, I now use the resulting pieces as templates in order to create meticulous replicas made from alternate media. Ranging from natural burlap and poly-tarp to quilted moving blankets and recycled trampoline fabric; I am interested in the way in which these nontraditional materials portray such a recognized convention. I am particularly engaged in raising questions of male identity politics and collapsing the distinction between traditional American male and traditional American female roles. The photographic situations I compose serve to augment the actual suits, as well as further subvert marriage conventions.
My installation-based projects are collaborations between natural and industrial elements. I manipulate and assemble similar nontraditional fabrics into large-scale environments that completely encompass the viewer. Within these massive blankets of material are containers that hold and embrace natural elements, such as evergreen trees, soil and light. I design these environments so as viewers navigate the suspended natural/industrial entities they transform from passive observer into subtle participant. Ultimately, these constructed situations are intended as portraits of human communication and interaction where the viewer becomes aware of both their physical and conceptual involvement in the work.