Artist Statement by Jeff Gibbons
I lived in a warehouse in Dallas for 9 years so I could make art and not have to struggle as much to get by. It had no windows besides an opaque skylight in the center of the room. I used to jokingly call the space an oubliette, which was a sort of prison that was just a hole or tower with an opening in the top where they dropped people inside, forever. It was in an area where no one could hear me scream so I slept with a bat next to my bed mostly as a sort of placebo. I grew up in Detroit and I’ve been looking over my shoulder for most of my life.
In Ptown in the off-season I stand on the beach in the middle of the night and let the wind fill my ears and press against my closed eyes, worrying less about someone grabbing me from behind. It’s the kind of comfort usually reserved for society’s most well-to-do members. People will kill in order to be more comfortable. They will work their bodies into crooked shapes of pain to attempt to achieve comfort for themselves and their families. We lie to ourselves as a way to feel more comfortable, when really we are not.
I’m just here for the winter and trying to appreciate as much of it as I can. Both globally and in my life there’s nothing but mystery and a seemingly inevitable decline. An anti-aging pill for all and world peace doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon.
I want to make the work that thrills me and makes me grow and communicate what I learn about being alive. I want to walk in the woods and find mushrooms and trees. To find the clams under my feet, and the sea snails clinging to tall grass. I’ve read that both the grass and the snails are abundant and invasive— just like us. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are to be alive, especially when people have to live in places that resemble literal hells on earth. We are so fortunate here, but no less precarious than dried leaves on a tree, waiting for just the right gust of wind to pull it all down.
Walking up a hill of soft sand is a lot like running in a dream when your legs just won’t do it, but here you don’t wake up from the strain, you get there eventually.
Please note: The gallery is available to visit from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 5 pm. Please visit the administrative offices to be shown to the gallery.
Jeff Gibbons (b. Detroit, 1982) is an intermedia artist. His work has been shown internationally in México, Japan, and across Europe. In the US, Gibbons has exhibited at venues such as the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Power Station, and The Dallas Contemporary. He has held artist residencies at Cerámica Suro in Guadalajara, México; Achterhaus in Hamburg, Germany; and The Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, Texas, among others. In 2018, he spoke about ice at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.