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Jackson Martin was born and raised on a hippie commune in rural Tennessee. At age 8, he moved to Nashville where he graduated from Hume Fogg Academic High School in 1997. Directly out of high school Martin began attending Austin Peay State University where he studied general fine arts and traveled to Mexico for a study abroad program. After completing 4 semesters he quit school and began walking, hitchhiking and trainhopping extensively throughout the United States. He finally returned to school and earned his BFA from Middle Tennessee State University in 2004. He then moved to Baltimore, MD to attend the Rinehart School of Sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art, earning his MFA in 2007. Martin regularly exhibits his sculptures on a regional, national and international level. Venues include, among others, Sculpture by the Sea, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and Pratt Institute Sculpture Park. Martin has also taught at several institutions, including East Tennessee State University, College of Charleston, Redux Contemporary Art Center and Penland School of Crafts. Martin now lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and daughter, where he is an Assistant Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina.
Over the years my artwork has evolved into an interdisciplinary approach to sculpture, installation and photography. I combine and intertwine these three concentrations in order to create dynamic experiences for my viewer. I utilize photography as a tool by which I begin and end my sculptural and installation projects. I regularly take walks with my camera, composing my reality and gaining inspiration in the process. I invariably gravitate towards environments where nature is reclaiming industry. My installation projects portray this complex relationship. I construct industrial containers to hold and embrace unaltered natural materials, such as trees, soil and light. Above all, these constructed environments affirm the absolute power and everlasting resilience of the natural world. During my walks, I am also attracted to ordinary and discarded objects. My sculptures arise from a need to rescue these abandoned items from obscurity and reconstruct their components into new, engaging combinations. Often I will circle back and compose photographs of the new hand-made objects, involving them in manipulated situations that aid in subverting their original context. Regardless of the material or process, my work transforms mundane objects into artworks with strong metaphorical meaning where the viewer can reflect on his/her own relationship with the world.