Stems Gallery is pleased to present “Lucky Food” a solo exhibition of Jane Dickson. "Lucky Food" includes works spanning from the past two decades, and a selection of Charlie Ahearn’s videos: “Jane in Peepland” (1993, 20 min), “Doin’ Time in Times Square” (1991, 40 min), and a newly finished video “Times Square Motor Hotel 1986-1992” (2020, 12 min).
Jane Dickson is a major figure in New York City’s complex creative history. Born in 1952 in Chicago, she arrived in the late 70s in New York City, where she lived, worked and raised her two children in an apartment on 8th Avenue and 43rd Street in Times Square. Dickson began a job programming visuals for Times Square’s first digital billboard. She mostly worked the night shift and was responsible for the New Year’s Eve countdown, witnessing faces reflecting in the hallucinatory glow. Dickson came to prominence in the New York art world as a part of the late 70s and 80s alternative and punk art scene downtown. Part of the canonical artist cooperative Colab (aka Collaborative Projects, Inc.), the radical artists collective known for its experimental art exhibitions that pushed the limits of artistic categories and launched graffiti and street art, which staged the Real Estate Show and The Times Square Show in 1980.
Dickson’s focus includes other facets of the Architecture of Distraction. Her paintings interpret the interiors of gambling environments and exteriors of which have become omnipresent “leisure-time” distractions, absorbing large amounts of daily life and American dream-life. She began to photograph through the window of her apartment the daily street hustle from above. Dickson captured the neon and vivid colors of strip clubs, peep shows, 24/7 cinemas, sex shops, and liquor stores. For multiple years now she has been painting on unconventional supports, using man-made materials that are culturally devaluated, chosen by the artist for their sensual embrace and the resonance of a specific material with a specific subject. Astroturf for blurred views of urban or suburban landscapes. The artificial grass comes in a variety of colors ranging from Caribbean blue to nature’s best green and lawn green. We know it as synthetic grass still, we read it as grass while using Astroturf the artist can paint elements, like highways and cars and leave the rest blank. The paint goes on in a particularized scumble, holding on each artificial grass particle like a pointillist touch from the brush.