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Storylights

September 10 through December 21, 2011

Program Locations:

Mid-Manhattan Library, Picture Collection

Observatory, 52 x 24.75 x 2 inches; glass, LED's, wood. 2011 © Katherine JacksonObservatory, 52 x 24.75 x 2 inches; glass, LED's, wood. 2011 © Katherine Jackson

10 September - 21 December 2011
Art Wall on Third Exhibition

The Art Collection, 3rd floor
Mid-Manhattan Library

The Art and Picture Collections at Mid-Manhattan Library present Storylights a three-part site-specific exhibition featuring the work of artist Katherine Jackson. The exhibition title conveys the dual nature of libraries: physical structures ("stories") housing the most intangible realities and the endlessly proliferating "stories" that humankind tells itself. Storylights consists of edge-lit or back lit etched glass sculptures and preparatory drawings for the glass pieces. The new work includes large scale abstract images inspired by architectural elements of Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street. These combine with previously made text-based work -- which tell or hint at stories -- along with images of bridges (most notably, the Manhattan Bridge). All are lit with LEDs or fluorescent lights. The effect is to suggest the bringing together (“bridging”) of the luminous world of the imagination and the outer world of steel, stone and light.

Artist and 2011 Guggenheim Fellow Katherine Bardford joins Jackson for An Artist Dialogue on December 17 at 2:30 p.m. in the Corner Room on the 1st floor

Storylights, pt. 1 exhibition, on view through January 3, 2012, is held inside the reading room on the first floor.

The public reception featuring a FREE solo performance by the renowned jazz guitarist Paul Meyers is on October 20, 2011 from 6-9 p.m. in the reading room on the first floor.

Art Wall on Third exhibition series is curated by Arezoo Moseni.

Artist Statement

Glass, in its nature as both transparent window and physical material, is an ideal medium through which to express the dual nature of art itself. As my lit glassworks show, art is both a window through which we attempt to “read” the world, and a physical vessel whose properties are crucially involved in such readings. We look both at and through these pieces, and the images etched onto the glass surface complicate our looking. Many of them contain text -- language fragments -- more often than not, of poetry. All the images are composed of “lines” (physical, but also metaphorical: of poems, of sight, of thought, of music), which are broken into dots or pulses. Once etched onto glass and lit, the dots form multiple lightpaths, making vivid the shifting perspectives that haunt our readings of the world. 

Recently, in a few pieces, the images have been etched onto the backs of mirrors, which are presented in lightboxes and lit from within. Here the dots of light are set against an opaque, dark background, which seems to recede against the floating, dematerialized lights. These mirror glass pieces provide an element of counterpoint when shown together with my other glasswork. They add another register to the effect, present in all the work, of a vibration between opacity and transparency, looking at and looking through. Such paradoxical looking is at play throughout my latest exhibition. In its array of visual “stories,” Storylights celebrates The New York Public Library on its hundredth birthday, that giant vessel of ever-proliferating “lines” and ever-shifting perspectives.