Lesley Jackson: Walking with Rilke

April 9 – May 7, 2017

Reception for the Artist
Sunday, April 9, 4:00 – 7:00 P.M.

Conjuring a Rose with the Moon, 2017, steel, enamel, flashlight, zip tie, yellow rose, red plexiglas, wooden beads, hair tie.


In his essay On Transience, Sigmund Freud recalls a walk in the Dolomite Mountains in 1913 with poet and friend Rainer Marie Rilke. It was an early spring day with the sun on high and the bellflowers in bloom. Freud was relieved to be outside after a long bout of rain kept him indoors. Rilke, however, walked with his head to the ground, unable to look up. Somewhere in the middle of the Swiss Alps, overcome by the transient nature of spring’s beauty, the poet reflected that all good things were fated to extinction.

Lesley Jackson empathizes with Rilke’s romantic struggle with mortality by inspiring scenarios for slowness. With materials and images collected from winter walks, Jackson’s sculptures push the pause button on time by recreating natural phenomena like a leaf blowing in the wind or an animal passing by. Careful arrangements of everyday objects challenge how we spend time; they are embedded with spells for conjuring the moon, methods for attracting horses, and other secrets.

As poetry does with language, Jackson’s lyrical use of objects makes her sculptures animate. A rubber band contemplates its shadow reflected on a leaf, and a hairbrush made of tree bark conjures the romantic ideal of an individual in nature. She imbues her objects with an emotional capacity to empathize and, perhaps, to contemplate their own being in time.

Lesley Jackson was born in Louisville, KY and earned her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) in 2013. She is  an instructor and manager of the sculpture wood shop at SAIC. She has exhibited work locally at Beautiful Gallery, Heaven Gallery, Cornerstore, Born Nude Gallery, and nationally at NADA New York with SPF15 Exhibitions. She is a resident at the Chicago Artist Coalition’s Hatch Program where she will be exhibiting work in Fall 2017.

The Resurrection of a Fallen Maple Leaf, 2017, Porcelain solo cup, walnut house key, usted steel twig, painted steel rubber band, pressed maple leaf, silver hoop.


Balancing Eternity on Your Knee, 2017, Rusted steel, painted steel rubber band.


Making Music with a Magnolia Leaf and Warm-Blooded Animals, 2017, Enameled steel, rusted steel shelves, magnolia leaf with silver hoop, rock with graphite, painted steel rubber band, red plexiglas, carrot flute made of oak, twig.


Walking with Rilke (installation view).


Walking with Rilke (installation view).


Balancing Eternity on Your Knee, 2017, Rusted steel, painted steel rubber band.


Conjuring a Rose with the Moon, 2017, Enameled steel, flashlight, zip tie, dried rose, red plexiglas, silver-coated ceramic beads.


Rabbit Crossing, 2017, Enameled steel, MDF, primer, acrylic, gazing balls, twig earring with tiger’s eye.