Bill Jackson : North by East, a conceptual art film | 100Prints.co.uk

Bill Jackson : North by East, A Conceptual Art Film.

North by East, a film by Bill Jackson

We recently had the honour of being invited to one of Bill Jackson's film showings at the House of St Barnabas, London. 100 Prints contributor, Andy Scaysbrook, studied under Bill at the Leamington Spa College and has continued to be inspired by his work ever since. 

A photographer & conceptual & installation artist, Bill's artworks are "elemental recordings, the conditions forming an intrinsic part of the process". 

"In conceptual art the idea or the concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art." (Sol LeWittAmerican Conceptual art and Minimalism artist.)

This applies to Jackson's works, the concept of time is crucial to his ideas and he employs photography as a tool to explore notions of time and space, exchanging the classic definition of photography as a series of instant glimpses of the world in which we live, to a personal definition of ‘space time’.  The combination of art and science as photography is a means to an end rather than the end itself.

'North By East' is a collection of 4 films which are part of a longer ongoing series of slow dissolving images taken at night and encompasses all the light drawing series. The films are a collaborative work with the playwright Dan O’Brien, who is based in Los Angeles, and the poet Tamar Yoseloff, who is based in London, both writers having worked with Bill previously. 

This is the first time Bill has worked collaboratively in this way with the two. The soundscapes used in the soundtracks were written and produced by Bill & the brief to the writers was very simple. "'Imagine you are in the dark and thoughts, ideas & conversations come to you in the darkness', I did not want them to illustrate the images but use the images as a springboard for their own journey", said Bill.

Bill says of his latest films: "The works mark a return to installation and projections and looking back over the work it seems I never really left that creative space. The light bulb moment was when I was looking at all the images taken so far (three years work) which had been printed as postcards and taped to my studio wall, not unlike a giant contact sheet. I knew I was doing an artist talk for The House Of St Barnabas, a charity for the homeless. I wasn't keen to do a show and tell so decided to create an event a performance followed by a Q&A with Vikki Nelson from Maestro Arts who has been an invaluable mentor in recent months. I took another look at the wall and saw not a giant contact sheet but a roll of film stills".

It resolved a number of issues Bill had about his work and he found himself in the creative space that he had been missing since getting back into print based work after a 20-year 'break'.

"'North Sea Drawings', 'East Wind Drawings' and 'In Search of Gretel' are created on location where Bill created a field of vision for the light drawings to take place. The unknown is the outcome. The photograph is the evidence of an 'event' that has taken place, a 'performance' that even Jackson himself cannot see in its entirety. During creation, only the process is evident. It’s through the inherent values in photography as a documentary process that he realises the idea." (An excerpt written by Eillen Haring Woods taken from 'About Bill Jackson' from Bill's own website.)

Influenced by Pollock's approach in random mark making and the artist's intervention in that process, Jackson builds a platform for these events to take place. The landscapes are carefully considered and researched by daylight prior to any 'performance', they are then transformed by the night. 

The future for Bill's work is very exciting; he will be the filmmaker in residence at Snape Maltings, the home of the Aldeburgh Music Festival, working with their composers and musicians: "My plans for my work generally is to explore the scale of projected images, both single and multiple screens and projections, creating virtual spaces so that the viewer is immersed in both audio and vision. The technology today compared to when I last worked in this arena has exploded with the advance in digital technologies and 4k, 6k and even 8k resolution".

Bill has stills from the film available as Limited Edition Prints, here are a few of our favourites.

North By East part 1: In Search of Gretel ( Angel In The Trees )
In collaboration with Los Angeles-based playwright Dan O'Brien. All text © Dan O'Brien 2017 all images and soundtrack © Bill Jackson 2017

Photograph: Bill Jackson North by East film stillPhotograph: Bill Jackson North by East film still

North By East part 2: North Sea Drawings ( Ghost Walk )
In collaboration with London based poet Tamar Yoseloff. All text © Tamar Yoseloff 2017 all images and soundtrack © Bill Jackson 2017

Photograph: Bill Jackson North by East film still

North By East part 3: East Wind Drawings Land and Sea ( Loss )
In collaboration with London based poet Tamar Yoseloff. All text © Tamar Yoseloff 2017 all images and soundtrack © Bill Jackson 2017

Photograph: Bill Jackson North by East film stillPhotograph: Bill Jackson North by East film stillPhotograph: Bill Jackson North by East film still

North By East part 4: East Wind Drawings ( Our Lives Are Brief )
In collaboration with London based poet Tamar Yoseloff. All text © Tamar Yoseloff 2017 all images and soundtrack © Bill Jackson 2017

Photograph: Bill Jackson North by East film stillPhotograph: Bill Jackson North by East film still

 Visit Bill Jackson's website now to view the North by East films in their beautiful entirity.