The night has its own drama of electric light, to be sure, which must be regarded as one of Dickson’s great subjects, along with the human presences transformed at the threshold of light and darkness… Her paintings mover faster than Hopper, but he and the painters of The Eight and the Aschan school are the natural models for Dickson’s exposure of the lived-in architectures of the working and underclass. The lurid chromas of electric light in the Times Square paintings reach a little further back, to the brothel and nightclub paintings of Lautrec and Degas, and to the pointillist effects…. Importantly, Dickson’s deeply learned conversation with a century of Modernist representation always seems to be simultaneously at the service of an authentic emotional response to her depicted subjects. The recent landscapes bear this out through the sheer aptness of their surfaces: the atomizing color effects and the physical bulk that reinforces their architectural imagery.
Darkness at the Edge of Town: Night Driving with Jane Dickson
Marlborough Chelsea Gallery 2008 (excerpt)
Jane Dickson began working as an animation designer on the first computer light board in Times Square in 1978 and lived and worked in that area until 2008. She was part of the politically charged 1980’s scene of artists working at the intersection of galleries, street art, hip hop, film and installation. An early member of the influential artist collective Colab (Collaborative Projects) and frequent exhibitor with Fashion Moda in the South Bronx and Group Materials, Dickson is known for iconic depictions of Times Square’s neon street life. Her paintings of suburban homes, highways, casinos, amusement parks and demolition derbies extend this vision of American spectacle across a broader landscape, revealing the uncanny nature of desire in our shared spaces of consumption. Using unorthodox supports such as black vinyl, Astroturf, sandpaper and carpet, Dickson produces rough suggestively obscured surfaces, sculpting a quality of light that is at once flickering and harsh – gritty yet hauntingly evanescent.
Dickson commissioned by the MTA in 2008, to Dickson designed the famous mosaic installations of New Year’s Eve Revelers for the Port Authority and Times Square subway station. Dickson was the subject of a 1994 traveling museum retrospective, a 1996 exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art at Philip Morris, and several solo exhibition at Marlborough Gallery. She has received awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the National Academy and the NEA. Her work is included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. She will be participating in the Kyiv Biennale this Sept.