Crystal Caverns

Crystal Caverns is a digital exhibition featuring a series of 48 collages/geometric drawings

The e-exhibition is available to download for free here in PDF format

Crystal Caverns dual portrait


Crystal Caverns are found in underground caves, in often hard to reach locations. These seemingly hidden depths feature mind-blowing arrangements of organic crystal formations. Jackson’s Crystal Caverns series comprises drawings completed at various stages of the past four years, 2012-2016.


Art Theorist Roaslind Krauss wrote that the power of the grid is “so stridently modern to look at, seeming to have left no place or refuge, no room on the face of it, for vestiges of the nineteenth century to hide”1. Jackson’s grids re-present discarded vestiges, not called up from the nineteenth century but from the early twenty-first century through fragments of mainstream fashion magazines.


Grids can be read as infinitely expandable, limited by the random boundaries imposed by the ending of the grid. There are two ways Krauss notes that we read grids; one from the outer limits inwards to a central focus (centripetal ) and the other in opposition, works from the centre outwards (centrifugal). The former is considered to maintain an interest in materiality, favouring as it does a focal tendency “concentrating on the surface of the work”. Whilst the view that looks outwards from the centre of the grid to the endlessness unknown concerns itself with the existence of abstract and theoretical arguments.

Within Crystal Caverns there exists an implication of the centripetal view through use of surface culture imagery which itself is dethroned from glossy magazines to perform within the grid. The grid in Jackson’s drawings expand organically in variable directions generating a sense of multiple dimensions; although two dimensional they tease at sculptural realms, as well as the enigmatic allure of the fourth dimension. This accounts for the centrifugal view.


The use of gold metallic gels to draw the grids further supports the works interest in the materiality and it is in this sense that similarities can be drawn to Jackson’s more widely recognised ceramic practice. Gold has connotations of value and wealth and is linked to religious piety as seen in theological renaissance painting.

The addition of fragmented corporeal imagery from fashion magazines alongside the use of gold is not intended to elevate the human body or other common banalities into spiritual realms or status. Rather the lustre of the gold encases the figurative aspects and ensnares it in a celebration of ordinariness. The body and gold can be seen as intrinsically concerned with materiality; however their fragmented appearance coupled with the use of grid patterns shifts the interest of these subjects into a search for the phenomenological. The connection between the drawings and the photographic imagery cajoles the work into occurring between the ‘real’ and the imaginary.

These drawings/collages serve as a vehicle for exploring materiality and mechanisms of narrative as well as continuing the artist’s search for the miraculous. The contents of the physical exhibition were first presented at Newbridge Project Studios, Newcastle upon Tyne. In this digital format the exhibition will continue to reach wider audiences. Art has already become increasingly involved in digital processes; is downloadable art the future of exhibitions?


The digital version of this exhibition expands similarly to the grids in the drawings whilst the physical presentation remained static and material like the fragments of imagery within the works. At a preview event for Crystal Caverns, visitors were invited to curate the layout and certain formats of the exhibition; selecting which works featured, which way up they should be viewed as well as layering some collages that appeared on acetates.

Other influences in producing the Crystal Caverns series include boredom, thinking about the fourth dimension, Vogue magazine and Alison Knowles’s seminal sculpture/performance ‘The Big Book’. Some people say the publication is a dead art form. The physical showing of these artworks coincided with the final printed edition of  the Independent newspaper  who have moved to producing digital only content.

  1. 1. Krauss, October Journal, Vol.9, Summer 1979, p54

Special thanks to Hannah, Juan Ignacio, Hot Mondeo, Stephen, Tim, Mel, Grace, El, Andrew M, L.Bell, N, Baby sis, Edwin, Lee, Theresa and Paul