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Oval Stuckists
Statement, biography & links

"as an emerging artist, I donít feel stuck at all. I feel like a survivor rather than a casualty of the
formulaic work that comes out of Londonís art schools each year. I have found my own voice
by choosing my own truth as revelation, and I have Stuckism to thank for that."

Graffiti magazine (Apr-Aug 2007):



This is an early work which was donated to Brian Haw's peace protest display outside the Houses of Parliament in 2006. It has subsequently been recreated by Mark Wallinger as part of his re-staging of Brian Haw's display in Tate Britain under the title of State Britain, which was opened in January 2007.


Abby Jackson was born in 1982 in Devon and went to Somerset School of Art. She was told about the Stuckists, along with other art movements such as Surrealism and Actionism, as part of her art history lectures at college. When she went to the Tate to find examples of work by these movements, she was puzzled that she couldn't find any by the Stuckists, which she recognised as a living and still evolving movement, whose aims she identified with. Soon after graduating, she got in touch with Charles Thomson, and founded the Oval Stuckists. She wrote to Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of the Tate, to tell him about her experience while an undergraduate and express her disappointment at the lack of representation of the movement in the Tate. He replied that he was sorry he could not agree with her view.

Abby is a dynamic participant in the art world and has already made her mark in several ways. She supported the Artists' Resale Rights campaign, taking part in a demonstration in January 2006, organised by the Designers and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) at Whitehall, and being one of the four artist representatives who were alloed to hand in the petition at the door of number 10, Downing Street. Her letter on the subject was published in The Times (page 16, 25.1.06). She said,

Sir, I was one of the artists who delivered the petition for the resale right to No 10. At 23 I am not yet an established artist, but I am passionate about painting. A Bill like this will encourage young artists to keep going, even when they can't afford a studio or a takeaway at the weekend. I don't want money to go towards a lavish wedding, I need it to continue painting. Dealers make an absolute killing, so it doesn't take a school-leaver to understand why Hockney and his out-of touch protesters (letter, Jan 21) oppose the Bill.

She has also had a busy schedule of exhibitions, including the Stuckist group show, "Painting is the Medium of Yesterday" - Paul Myners, and solo shows at the Adam Street Gallery and Diorama Gallery. In 2006, she donated her painting Foreign Policy 2000 to Brian Haw's peace protest display outside parliament. This was one of the works then confiscated by the Metropolitan Police and subsequently recreated by Mark Wallinger in his re-enactment of the display in Tate Britain under the title State Britain, which opened in January 2007. The painting, which shows President Bush as a dominatrix whipping Tony Blair on all fours, was previously shown at the Wellington club.

Abby instigated and co-curated Lost and Found, the first show of artists from the Saatchi Your Gallery website: this took place at the Brick Lane Gallery in East London.


I love to paint. I paint pictures mainly figurative work. I like to centre on the figure - that's always what I work on first, but the main enjoyment is brushwork that's around the figure. When I was a child I'd draw around and around the outline of a figure, like a woodgrain effec. This is a more advanced version of that. The subjects are folklore and nature. There's a series on the Disney heroine. I feel that I was indoctrinated as a child through fairy tales, the culture that surrounds you as a child, especially being a female. It's a constant barrage of princesses meeting the knight in shining armour. I totally embraced it as a child. I loved that idea, but it's not until you grow up as a young woman, that you realise "why do I have such a rose tinted view of relationships and life?" The thread goes back to the folklore and fairy tale that surrounded me as a kid. As soon as I started to question my own life and relationships, that's when I gained insight, which translates through my work. As an adult, this fairy tale image never disappears. It just morphs through celebrity culture and the ideal woman is no longer a Disney princess: she's a skinny celebrity princess with the perfect movie star boyfriend, who has taken the place of the knight in shining armour. I've taken elements from the childhood fairy tale and the contemporary fairy tale of the celebrity lifestyle, merging the two ideas into work such as Death of the Rocks, which portrays the Disney Little Mermaid slitting her wrists.


Her critical writing includes articles in The Hospital magazine, Ditched and Still Life v Real Life in Aesthetica, issue 11, November 2005, (web archive of Aesthetica here, scan here) where she contrasts the different responses of Stuckist artist Wolf Howard and Luc Tuymans to the subject of 9/11.

Abby writes for Art in London (formerly Graffiti) magazine (available from galleries and museums, send A5 s.a.e. with 75p stamp to Graffiti, 22 Summerfield Road, London W5 1ND).
Summer 2007 (pdf): page 24 (Mark Wallinger), page 60 (Stuckism)
Winter 2007 (pdf): page 66 (street art in Brighton), page 38 (art and taxidermy)
Summer 2008 (pdf): page 29 (Edward Lucie-Smith)


The Observer (20.5.07)
Serota sticks it up the Stuckists
The nomination of Mark Wallinger for this year's Turner Prize with State Britain presents a problem to the organisers. Wallinger's piece, a recreation of Brian Haw's peace protest camp in Parliament Square, includes in it a copy of the work of one Abby Jackson. The painting in question, donated by Jackson to Haw, depicts Blair as a dog on a lead and George W Bush as his master. Jackson, however, is a member of the Stuckist group, which protests annually against the Turner Prize, calling for a return to figurative art. She says: 'State Britain is a true metaphor of conceptual art, as it's fake. I feel that I and the other people who contributed to Brian's display are the original artists.' Nicholas Serota, director of the Tate Gallery, which commissioned Wallinger's installation and nominated it for the prize, has described the Stuckists' work as insufficiently 'original' for inclusion in his gallery's collection. Ironic.

More on Mark Wallinger and Tate rejects Stuckist donation


Abby Jackson (centre) with Michael Dickinson (left) in Istanbul in 2008.


Abby Jackson web site
Abby Jackson on Saatchi Your Gallery


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