Interdependencies: Artist & Curator Interview

Anca Rujuoi & James Jack
CNA938 radio featured Jack who said it was important to be able to think about what the exhibition means in a pandemic context – making connections with other artists and reshaping the notions of interdependency, creativity and collaboration. He also talked about breaking boundaries by “thinking about what can be done instead of what cannot be done”, by working directly with tools and media available in Singapore and with the Tropical Lab team.

Conversation with James Jack between New Haven and Pandan Studio

Kathryn Miyawaki & James Jack
Jack: Each of the colours come from a place with a story. These projects are very much about the past. Looking is not just looking, it’s also reconsidering, rethinking, and
rewriting the past. I hope that the simple act of looking at a colour — since you’re looking at traces of the actual earth — reveals these stories, the ghosts, the insects, and previous ancestors that inhabited this land too.
Miyawaki: Being in the presence of these soils triggers sight, taste, memory, and so many other sensorial

Inundation: Art and Climate Change in the Pacific

Jaimey Hamilton Faris and Azusa Takahashi
“Through the SEA BIRTH trilogy, Jack draws upon maritime history of Okinawa, where the islands’ folklore adds crucial perspectives often missing in current reporting of issues. … As an American artist based in Asia, Jack is working to forge a future where centers of power return to the islanders who love the sea.”

Inundation: Psychic Costs of the Climate Emergency

Noi Tanigawa

“We might be talking about subsistence fishing, or organic agriculture, opportunities to community-build by mentoring and training the next generation of youth…There’s a lot of that that’s already happening on the neighbor islands, so when I think about climate justice, it’s really about social strengthening, and reinforcing and retying our bonds together.” That, truly, is the function of art.

Artistic Reckoning

Chris Gibbon
“Inundation: Art and Climate Change in the Pacific uses mixed media to open new dialogues about our changing planet. The exhibition is positioned to help viewers approach the complexity of climate change. It is educational, a call to action, and deeply therapeutic. It can spark conversation, and perhaps most importantly, it can change the conversation.”

Empowering Gestures of Quiet Resistance

Meruro Washida
“Jack’s attitude of empathy towards things that have eluded categorization stems from the questioning of his own identity as someone who creates art while migrating. Jack juxtaposes the ambiguity of identity against the colonialist powers of categorization, stated more specifically held in practices such as naming.”

James Jack on Searching for Rumours, Reimagining the Framework and Mapping Alternative Histories

Joella Qingyi Kiu
“A rumour is something that’s shared between people, and it changes when it’s being passed on through different oral histories. I’m interested in undocumented — or in some cases undocumentable — stories. By circulating the objects from one person to the next, I’m hoping to reconnect with things that would otherwise be impossible to find.”

Japan as Point of Anchor: Exhibition by James Jack at Orford Music

Jean-François Gagnon
Par essence, un artiste est habituellement un être singulier. Mais le spectre de la singularité est large. Exposant actuellement à Orford Musique , le peintre d’origine américaine James Jack se situe sans doute à l’une des extrémités de ce spectre. Celle où on retrouve les démarches les plus éctatées. Les plus assumées aussi.

In Praise of Shadows

Michelle Ho
“Jack’s pigment collections reveal another dimension of the earth that is seldom perceivable in their immediate physical forms. Taking on a resplendent spectrum of ochre, red and sepia hues, these traces of dirt also bear stains of their past, embedded from pre-historic geological formations to modern-day changes in land use. In his pigment drawings, shades of these histories have been reduced into a basic shape, which stand for the artist as testaments of the ever-changing essence of a place, amidst processes of location and dislocation.”

One-hundred Stories Told by Art

Masahiro Ushiroshōji
“In the series of drawings Philosophies of Dirt, Jack creates work about earth, collecting dirt from places of significance, grinding them into powdered pigments, then dissolving them in water and painting with each pigment meditatively on a sheet of paper. Through the repetition of the meticulous process of purifying the dirt samples, not only is one able to recognize the unthinkable beauty in colors of dirt, but also the memories of dirt are internalized through countless layers of conversations with oneself while patiently laboring — a sublime experience brought about through the work.”

Islands for Life

Adrian Favell
“Jack engaged the enthusiastic participation and advice of one energetic villager around 60 (himself with ageing parents from the island), who could provide the key relations Jack needed in order to obtain the recycled wood, as well as expertise (to build a boat). Other curious villagers could drop by the open site during the day; there were school visits, newspaper coverage, and parties to mark the project’s launch and completion during an extended slow summer.”

Notes on Reading the Philosophies of Dirt: On the Art of James Jack

Brandon Shimoda
“Dirt has a mind. In reading James Jack’s The Philosophies of Dirt, here is one idea to which I propose we commit—that not only does dirt have a mind, it uses it. Dirt thinks.”

Natura Naturans

Rhoda London
“For Natura Naturans, James Jack has created a work of profound beauty with a luminescence and quiet hue that evokes a sense of harmony with the nature of the Northwest.”

Each Moment, Only Once

Kóan-Jeff Baysa
“There’s a long history of painters integrating Asian sensibility into contemporary Western-based art practice and challenging issues of tradition and modernity, content and form. James Jack is such an artist…”