A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there. –Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion 1938, via the artist’s statement.
Trigger warning: Roxanne Jackson‘s work is dark.
But that’s just the appeal.
Just as we subject ourselves to the horror movie and delight in the thrill of it, as it brings our subconscious fears to the fore, Roxanne Jackson’s work is scraping the bottom of our primal psychology to come up with a cathartic experience. Says the artist:
The emotions I’m concerned with are sometimes buried and inaccessible to most people. They include pain, fear, and separation. Confronting these emotions can serve as a catalyst that melts barriers to our development.
The multiply conjured image of the blood-soaked dog emerging from human mouth speaks to this cathartic transformation that Jackson fashions her art to inspire:
[A] dog’s mouth emerge[s] from a blurred human head; [its features] are soft and indistinct. The animal mouth symbolizes our need to express these stifled emotions in order to break free of a cloistered, dormant existence.
Jackson is blurring distinctions between the human and animal, and perhaps also between the living and dead. Her works in clay, foam, ceramic, hair, and glass bring a Pagan sense of the macabre in their wake. But is it healing psychologically? See her website here for works inspired by Rorschach too.
by Shawn Johnson