Mark Jackson: psychic surface

30 May - 6 July 2024

Castor is delighted to announce psychic surface, London-based artist Mark Jackson’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Jackson’s heavily impastoed oil paintings lure the viewer closer with their shimmering surfaces and soft, impressionistic forms. Frequently depicting figures and faces at roughly human scale, the works at once address us directly, and yet remain visually elusive and hard to grasp, resulting in an otherworldly gestalt.



Whilst the common usage of ‘psychic’ refers to a person who connects with purported alternate realities, Jackson suggests that, “maybe other realities do exist, just not spooky ones. What we don’t know, what we cannot perhaps fully know, I’m imagining as lurking on the other side of the canvas... the psychic surface. Some but not all of that will come through.” Jackson leans into and pushes against the gallery’s context as a deconsecrated church, to reposition the canvas surface itself as the psychic or transformational medium, revealing the depths of the unknown and the subconscious. In a Surrealist tradition, the artist employs dream-associated imagery, with an improvisatory and experimental approach to materials, resulting in works that reject the impulse to find stable form and meaning, and instead remain open and speculative.



The exhibition centres around a new large-scale painting, becoming animal. In a whirl of snowy, layered, thrown, brushed and washed paint, hints of the figure, accompanied by various animals, emerge. Here it is as if the collected beings are one, made of the same vibrating luminous material, each morphing into another—bird-hand, cat-arm, face-reptile jaw. The painting’s surface shows various revisions during its making—traces of plaster can be seen jutting out on the left edge where it was once connected to another large canvas support, and the build-up of encrusted paint around the depiction of a cat reve als dozens of attempts to form an image before this one. becoming animal is exemplary of the artist’s practice in which the morphing state of the depicted figure mirrors the process by which it is made.



Exhibited alongside this work is a new sculpture, the other half of ‘ghost of half a bat’ from 2004, 2024. Here the artist recalls an earlier work, where a sculpture of half a bat was modelled out of wire and shaving foam. “The ghost in the original title could always have referred to the missing part of the sculpture, rather than the half actually depicted,” observes the artist. Now, after 20 years, it’s the other half that’s being exhibited. Like the paintings that play with bringing two or more realities together, this spectral sculpture is another way of asking what is real, what is not, and where the line lies between the two.



Mark Jackson (b. 1976)  lives and works in London. He studied BA (Hons) Fine Art Painting at Loughborough University (1998), and MA (Distinction) Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art & Design (2006), receiving an AHRC scholarship. He collaborated as part of Jackson Webb (2003—2010). He’s had solo exhibitions at Block 336, London (2017), and more recently presented turtles all the way down, an exhibition of large-scale paintings and a sculptural installation, at OHSH Projects, London (2023). Last year he undertook a residency at Xenia Creative Retreat, and in 2024 featured in their annual exhibition at Daniel Katz Gallery. In recent months, he’s been included in group exhibitions in Berlin, Burgundy, London, LA and New York. Jackson also curates, writes and interviews other artists.