JULIAN JACKSON at Kathryn Markel

Julian Jackson, Ariel, 2009, 56 x 48 inches, oil on wood

Just opened at Kathryn Markel in Chelsea (through February 6), Julian Jackson is showing a gorgeous new group of paintings that seem to be lit from within. The show's title, Will 'O the Wisp, refers to the phenomenon of naturally occurring phosphorescence that perfectly embodies Julian's intent. Painted on panels with beveled back edges, these pieces appear to hover in front of the wall, and the smooth surfaces look as though the color is somehow invested rather than applied. Built out of layers of overlapping rectangles, the compositions are as solid as urban landscapes, but the spaces are absolutely etherial. Nuanced contrasts in value, saturation, warmth and coolness, make the color relations undulate, pulling us into a soft and constantly shifting space that is as disorienting as it is seductive. These works gracefully perform an almost impossible transformation of the material elements of painting into a pure experience of luminescence.