336 Old Street, 2nd Floor, London EC1V 9DR, U.K.



‘Chronicles’ will be Sam Jackson’s second solo presentation at VOLTA New York, following his hugely successful debut in 2014.

Jackson is a British painter who is known for his uncompromising erotic and portrait paintings. This exhibition consists of recent portraits, where Jackson has continued to evolve his practice by either upscaling or adding new visual components. Extra layers of complexity have been introduced including patterning; collage; a broadening of palette; experimenting with new techniques such as fat cap spray painting; and mark making with a router. The result is compelling paintings that express the inherent urgency of the artist. 

Having combined text and image on and off since his graduate days, Jackson has recently deployed the use of text to new, heightened levels. Embracing numerous naïve graffiti tropes, Jackson’s outpourings have come to be read not only as declarations, statements or musings of the artist, but potentially of the subject itself, suggesting a doubling of the diaristic or an expression of internal thoughts. The voice is ambiguous and suggests that these portraits might also be read as self-portraits. 

Indeed, the autobiographical has always been present in Jackson’s work. Having grown up in Essex in the 1980’s and being brought up by a highly informed art teacher, his formative experiences combine street level violence and substance abuse with a profound appetite for visual art, literature, film and philosophy. A complex search for self via experience and experimentation; an openness for and embracing of the other; and a taste for brutality as well as sensitivity, are characteristic of the artist as well as these searching paintings.

Sam Jackson was born in 1977 and studied at Middlesex University, London (2000-2003) and City and the Royal Academy Schools, London (2004-2007). He has exhibited widely including institutional shows at Saatchi Gallery, Walker Art Museum, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Torrance Art Museum, Russel-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Dean Clough and Klaipeda Culture Communication Centre. Jackson’s work is placed in prominent collections including Javier Baz, Denver; David Roberts, London; Sir Norman Rosenthal, London; Kay Saatchi, Los Angeles; Soho House, London; & Soho Warehouse, Los Angeles.

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Alex Gene Morrison’s debut exhibition at VOLTA New York.

Morrison’s paintings reflect his ongoing and deep-rooted interest in horror, sci-fi and post-apocalyptic film; early video game aesthetics; sub cultural design; Modern and Postmodern abstract painting; comic books; heavy metal; and the tragi-comic. This is underpinned by a rigorous investigation into the primitive, totemic and tribal, and their associated archetypes and mythologies.

In this recent series the symbol of a humanoid or human-animal hybrid head has become a consistent motif. Fanged, snake-tongued beings appear aggressive yet often dumb, confused and unable to communicate. They could be seen interchangeably as villains, heroes, antiheroes, monsters, demons or delinquents. When presented together they function as a gang or tribe, with markings, scars or colour codes suggesting affiliations. Socio-political notions of human conflict from the primeval to the contemporary resonate through the work.

Beneath all of this is a thorough and explorative investigation into the process of painting itself. There is an acute awareness of materiality, where subtle shifts in tone, texture and direction of application combine to create spatial and perspectival shifts; and underpainting and repainting bring attention to the built surface. Morrison encourages his audience, therefore, to engage with the semiotic implications of signs and motifs, but also the purely formal and material concerns of painting.

Alex Gene Morrison was born in 1975 and studied at City and Guilds of London Art School, London (1997-2000) and Royal College of Art, London (2000-2002). He was a founding member of the influential Rockwell Project, which was an artist run studio and gallery space in east London in the early 2000’s. Morrison has exhibited consistently and globally at cutting edge gallery and project spaces, as well as institutions including Saatchi Gallery, Walker Art Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Dean Clough, Klaipeda Culture Communication Centre and Chapter Gallery. His work is placed in numerous private collections in Europe and the United States.

Sam Jackson, All The Things You Are, 2018, Oil on board, 31 x 21 cm.
Sam Jackson, Give Me Something I Can Believe In, 2018, Oil on board, 31 x 22 cm.
Sam Jackson, How Soon Is Now, 2019, Oil on board, 31 x 22 cm.
Sam Jackson, If You Could See Me Now, 2019, Oil on board, 26 x 21 cm.
Sam Jackson, No more talking, 2018, Oil on board, 32 x 21 cm.
Sam Jackson, The Night Has Opened My Eyes, 2018, Oil on board, 32 x 21 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison, Blue Head (Purple Speak Black Scar), 2018, Oil on canvas, 45 x 35 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison, Green Blue Chin And Eye Scar Orange, 2018, Oil on canvas, 35 x 25 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison, Orange Red Snake Tongue Tattoo (Jaw), 2018, Oil on linen, 35 x 25 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison, Red Eye Green Tongues, 2018, Oil on canvas, 45 x 35 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison, Slayer Eye (Black and Red Scratch), 2018, Oil on canvas, 45 x 35 cm.
Alex Gene Morrison, Yellow Head (Black Tongue), 2018, Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 cm.