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Announcement
January 28, 2021

Ariel René Jackson
Descendance

University of Washington School of Art + Art History + Design

Ariel René Jackson and Michael J. Love, Descendance, 2020. Photo: Eliot Gray Fisher. Pool design: Eto Otitigbe, Subwaves, 2018.

The Jacob Lawrence Gallery premieres Ariel René Jackson’s Descendance, a drone-shot video featuring interdisciplinary tap dance artist Michael J. Love and an original score by jazz musician Joseph C. Dyson Jr. Set inside an empty swimming pool at the George Washington Carver Center, Descendance explores ideas of lineage and generational change by transforming an American flag stenciled with soil. The exhibition, created as part of Jackson’s 2021 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency, also includes two-dimensional panels that use the same soil and flag stencil as the performance.

“The piece was influenced by dance and movement, by history that lives in the body,” Jackson says. Over the course of Descendance, Jackson and Love organically change the flag as they move through it. “I’m interested in the action of developing culture.”

Now in its sixth year, the Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency supports new work by Black artists. Due to the pandemic, Jackson adapted their residency this year to function remotely, an adaptation they say allowed for new possibilities.

“It’s helpful for Black artists to receive this kind of support without having to travel and to really consider what our resources are. Ultimately, residencies are about building relationships,” Jackson says, pointing to the powerful opportunity to bring together Jacob Lawrence and George Washington Carver with this work. “One was a scientist and one was an artist,” they continue, “but Carver also made paint and paintings using soil.”

About the artist
Ariel René Jackson’s film-based multidisciplinary practice considers land and landscape as sites of internal representation. Through sculpture, video, and performance, they explore themes of loss and transformation, modifying familial and antique objects. Born and raised in Louisiana, Jackson currently lives in Austin, Texas, where they completed their MFA at The University of Texas at Austin. Their work has been shown at various galleries and institutions such as the SculptureCenter; CUE Art Foundation; Contemporary Art Center, New Orleans; Depaul Art Museum; Studio Museum in Harlem, and RISD Museum.

Read more about Jackson, their collaborators on this project, and the George Washington Carver Museum.

About the residency
Established in 2015, the Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency invites Black artists at all stages of their careers to have a residency in the gallery during the month of January and to hold an exhibition during the month of February, Black History Month. Previous Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency awardees are HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, Steffani Jemison, C. Davida Ingram, Danny Giles, and Marisa Williamson. The 2020 Jacob Lawrence Legacy Residency and Exhibition are made possible with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

About Jacob Lawrence Gallery
Situated in the University of Washington’s Art Building, the Jacob Lawrence Gallery is a vital center for social engagement and critical dialogue about the roles of art, art history, and design within the broader context of intellectual life on campus. Through an ambitious and compelling program of contemporary exhibitions, lectures, performances, screenings, and discussions, the gallery is a site of knowledge production and advancing discourses that serves over 8,000 visitors each year.

In 1994, the gallery was dedicated to one of the School’s most renowned faculty members, Jacob Lawrence, who taught at the University of Washington from 1970–1985 and served as Professor Emeritus until the end of his life in 2000. The gallery is a tangible, living legacy of Lawrence’s exemplary life and practice. More information is available at jacoblawrencegallery.com

About the school
The School of Art + Art History + Design is the center for creative innovation and study at the University of Washington, one of the world's leading public research institutions. The School's focus on interdisciplinary collaboration and the development of new practices enhances both studio and classroom learning as well as fostering dynamic engagement and critical discourse. Our students are inspired to learn through a rigorous and creative academic experience, competitive internships, and international opportunities. Learning from influential faculty, alumni, visiting artists, designers, and scholars, students of our undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs investigate and create in an environment of possibility.

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