Troy University Assistant Professor of Photography Will Jacks is using his latest exhibit, “Absolute Rest,” as an opportunity to push the boundaries of what is generally thought of as traditional photography.
The exhibit is currently on display at the University’s International Arts Center, and a reception will be held on Thursday, March 3, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
“Will Jacks presents a beautiful collection of experimental art, challenging what we know about traditional photography and printmaking, blurring the lines between the two mediums in his exhibit ‘Absolute Rest’,” said Carrie Jaxon, Director and Curator of the International Arts Center. “We’re fortunate that he’s on campus and has willingly lent his time to visiting tours and classes – allowing visitors to interact with the artist makes for an enriched experience. His exhibit has provided art workshop inspiration for our IAC Junior Warriors program with our local 7th graders, as well as our free monthly family program, ArtSPARK. It has directly inspired around 200 children with their art creations at the IAC these past few months.”
Jacks said the works, many of which are large format presentations, bridges traditional printmaking and photography.
“These works are made without the use of a camera. Photography at its core is just writing with light,” he said. “This work is a bridge between traditional printmaking and lens-based photography. I was really interested in exploring and pushing the boundaries of what photography can be, is and has been traditionally assumed to be.”
Jacks hopes viewers of the exhibit will expand the way they think about photography.
“I hope that they look at this work and begin to open a small little space in their minds to realize that photography has more possibilities than what they have always assumed it to have,” he said. “And, if you can open that little space specific to photography then where might you be able to open that space for other aspects of your life.”
Jacks, who joined the TROY Art & Design faculty in 2021, is a process artist best known for his photographic work, but also incorporates explorations with land, objects, sound, video, and community engagement into his practice. His research examines the blurred areas between art and journalism, individual and collective, and the impact of each on the other.
His first monograph documents the juke-joint Po’ Monkey’s Lounge which serves as a prism for examining cultural tourism and preservation and the complexities prevalent in both. It was published by University Press of Mississippi in October of 2019, and, for this work, Jacks was recognized by the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters for outstanding achievement in photography.
In 2020, Jacks completed an M.F.A. in Studio Art from the Maine College of Art, and, in 2021, he competed his MA in Journalism from the University of Mississippi.
In addition, he works with other artists in creating the non-profit Jacks Farms Artist Residencies. He can often be found on rural backroads somewhere in the South, exploring people, culture, history, geography, pattern and the entanglement of where those worlds collide.
For more information about this and other exhibits, visit the International Arts Center website.