Venus & Hephaistos

Venus & Hephaistos

Large format Photographs – 2005-2008

Venus & Hephaistos, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and the Greek god of metalwork, fire, and building and the arts, had a troubled relationship.

These photographs are documents of a workplace that has been a forge, ironworks, and machine shop since 1850, now closed. The three-story wooden building in Morrisville, Vermont had a modern working machine shop on its lower floor, a 1930’s casting pattern-works above, and even older relics in it’s attic. To ascend the creaking staircases was to move back in time. The pattern-works wood shop was closed in the late 1930’s and left untouched. The attic’s storage above contained tools and wares forgotten even by the depression era woodworkers.

Jackson’s image document the places of work, active or abandoned or somewhere in between, looking for the casual arrangements of working implements organized by a logic of functional convenience. The objects displayed on rough worn boards recall the 16th & 17th century still-life of northern Europe with their close observation of quotidian and even unflattering detail. As in many of those works, Jackson is also observing a social coding and emotional subtext of the workplaces. Craps of paper, pin-up calendar photos, and personal mementos populate the scenes like lost figures or worn signs in a landscape of metal shavings, grime, and metal polished by handling.

Thanks to the Vermont Studio Center and Bourneman & Green Corp