Works

Sea Birth three

2020
“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. In Sea Birth three, the final part of the trilogy, the painting sets the scene in Henoko-Ōura Bay with signs of resistance arising from the forest, the video provides context for the political contestations in the bay and the driftwood becomes a home for the fire spirits to return to their rightful habitat.”

Botanical Lessons in Idleness

2019
“What had caught Jack’s attention was how Kanehira had not recorded the names of the flora. In other words, one could say that they had slipped through the categorizing gaze of colonialist museology that had come along with colonial expansion. 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.”

Œuvres à l’Encre

2018
“Gathering materials from specific sites, Jack explores social memories of place through intimate contact with the people who live there in the simplest way. His method, using ink he creates from the husk of butternuts and walnuts (he gathers the nut, separates the husks, grinds, boils and filters them) is a meditative, labor intensive process. Representation is not the goal. The painting is more than the subject. The ink, color and brushwork become the image, not the mountain or ocean or whatever he is painting. Poetry that is connected to the landscape and people.”

Sea Birth two

2018
This work builds upon the spirits found in the turbulent sea on the Pacific side of Okinawa. What is born from encounters near the site of a historic shipwreck near South Ukibaru Island?

Sea Birth one

2017
The work Sea Birth begins with a wood fragment of an unidentified shipwreck in the coral near Minami Ukibaru Island. In reflecting imaginatively on the cultural connections linked to these fragments, the potential for a new life in the sea is opened.

Natura Naturata: Light of Singapore

2017
Dirt is a part of us. Just as our body is composed of cells, organs and systems—so too is the earth. This fragile earth supports our life, yet we often separate ourselves from it. This work is composed of dirt traces gathered in Singapore. Look into these earth windows, what do you see?

Transpacific Crossing

2017
Views of the Pacific seen from the bathymetric data from one container ship travelling between Aomi Terminal to the Port of Tacoma.

Iwaki Window

2016
These eighty-eight works are composed simply of dirt traces on paper. The artist stood at each of these sites during the past year—touching one granule at a time, feeling the life of the earth on one’s fingertip. Numerous sites near the exhibition location in Fukushima Prefecture were also included, gradually bringing the spirit of each place  into view. Look into these windows, what do you see?

Migration of a Cycad

2015
An action of reversing colonial desire today. Cycad palm trees were carried from the Ryūkyū Kingdom to Shikoku Island by members of the Satsuma Domain circa 18th century. For this work, the artist carried a pine tree sapling by boat in reverse from Takamatsu to the island of Tokunoshima and presented as a gift to a relative who added it to his domestic garden.

Philosophies of Dirt

2005-2012
“Dirt has a mind. In reading James Jack’s Philosophies of Dirt, here is one idea to which I propose we commit—that not only does dirt have a mind, it uses it.”

Natura Naturata

2010
Earth pigments painted directly on the wall in a contemplative process, including three samples gathered in the vicinity of the gallery.

Natura Naturans

2005
“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.”

Ink & Essence

2003-2010