Eternal brings together new works from Richmond artist Jason Hackett and Alabama-based artist Wade Folger MacDonald. Often when people think and talk about that which is eternal, it tends to come up as something synonymous with infinity, meaning numerically endless, with no beginning or end. I tend to think about that which is eternal as being beyond time to the point of numberless. Eternality seems to be much more of a qualitative reality replete with ontological implications. This qualitative state can draw us out of ourselves or into ourselves to the point we feel as though time has gone quickly or slowly, but perhaps at this threshold, we glimpse a sense of something beyond us.
This exhibition presents wall pieces and sculptures from both artists that possess shifting qualitative states. Through the past, present, and possibly “future” tools of making, Hackett’s work brings us into close contact with a superseding sense of our mortality, our life, and the desire for things that last. Digital interventions obfuscate the human touch. Gold driftwood as both metaphor and an object to value nudge in us a view of our fragile place in our circumstances as well as the persistent desire for hope and permanent value. Wade’s work brings our bodies into a merged space of architecture and vessel-ness with flickers of aesthetic contextualization, verging on structural collapse and reemergence at various rates as wall pieces “gather” as multi-material chrome bodies that look salvaged out of sci-fi wreckage.
Taken together, the vast material intent and exploration in both artists’ works crosses disciplines and ideas. The common thread running throughout the work is the way we come into contact with materials and formations that demand more time than what is numerically possible and yet point us to a sense of there being something more, something provoking us into repeated enriched consideration of each work and what exists just beyond the ontic reach of each.
Artist Statement: Wade Folger MacDonald
The bridge between ceramics and architecture is multifaceted and synergetic. Both address social dilemmas through their aestheticism and utilitarianism. Clay acts as a conduit between past and present notions of material innovation, challenging our concepts of new architectural paradigms. By heightening this correlation through the contextualization of the pedestal or table and the addition of multiple construction materials, a more affable human quality to contemporary architecture emerges. Through the process of research, ideation and practice, I have formed the groundwork for celebrating the human element of contemporary architecture and the vessel and their relationship as common structures or ideas.
Wade Folger MacDonald
Wade was raised in Kalamazoo, Michigan and holds a B.A. in Art Education from Western Michigan University. In 2014, Wade earned an M.F.A. in Studio Art from Michigan State University. As a graduate student, Wade received the Varg-Sullivan Award for Distinguished Research and the John and Susan Berding Family Foundation Endowment Juried MFA Prize. In 2018, Wade received an NCECA Emerging Artist award and was featured in American Craft Magazine’s August/September 2018 Issue. Currently, Wade is Assistant Professor of Ceramics in the Department of Art and Art History at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Artist Statement: Jason Hackett
Over time, my creative practice has evolved from one driven by hand manipulation of materials to one of increased absence of handwork. My use of new tools, technology, and digital processes evolves from a memory of handwork and humanness. Sometimes this is evidenced by the presence of handprints, or the symbolic use of bodily imagery. At other times, I’m convinced enough that my metaphorical choices, aesthetic, thoughts, and intuitive decisions offer the frailty, imperfection, approachability, and compassion of human nature. These persistent reappearances of humanity in my work provide moments of reflection existing in contrast to the hum, residue and marks of technology.
Jason Hackett is a professional artist and Studio Manager for the Department of Craft/Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. His artworks have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and Europe including the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art, The Mobile Museum of Art, The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, The Taubman Museum of Art, Arrowmont School of Art and Craft, and Peter’s Valley School of Craft. Jason is also the recipient of professional grants including a Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Fellowship. He shares his life with his wife Cindy and their two daughters Claire and Lillian.