Ancestors' Bones Exhibition Installation 

University Museum University of Delaware
208 Mechanical Hall
Newark. DE 19716

Julie McGee: Curator 


Fall Exhibition 2012:
Martha Jackson Jarvis: Ancestors' Bones

On view at the University Museums, University of Delaware
Martha Jackson Jarvis: Ancestors' Banes explores relationships and contingencies linking histories and
spirits captured in a vintage photographic album and in the physical materiality of nature.
Conceptualized as an environment of immersion that blurs boundaries between sequential and spatial
narratives, her installation of drawings, digitally enhanced imagery and sculpture, literally and
figuratively unearths resonant histories from the photographic record, dislodging the visual fixity of the
socio-historic image, and creatively reimagining their stories within the natural world.
Working with natural materials, pigments, and dyes-most gathered and distilled by the artist-Jackson
Jarvis gives new life to dormant or decaying nature. In her large-scale drawing series Ancestors' Banes:
Free Spirits playful if episodic drips, splashes, and brushy strokes converse with densely interlocked coral
imagery, weighty nodes amongst the diaphanous calligraphy. These large-scale drawings bear the
improvisational imprint of an artist best known for her sculptural work who moves with ease from plane
to space and from the abstract to the concrete. The freedom and freshness imparted in the drawings
relay the creative machinations, in form, structure, and line that underpin much of Jackson Jarvis's
three-dimensional work, as in Nest Stones and Umbilicus (2008).
As an environmental installation, Ancestors' Bones evokes the connective tissue that binds generations
and genuses, the animate and inanimate, the familial and strange. Jackson Jarvis allows the literal and
indexical readings imparted by vintage photographs of black family and community in spare environs to
linger but not define, to inform and influence but not proscribe intended meaning. Overlaid with
natural and organic referents, the photographic trace becomes synonymous with the Iifecycle of nature
just as nature is ancestors' bones. In Jackson Jarvis's work, the regenerative forces of nature and the
human spirit are entangled, nested and rooted. The compost place is Jackson Jarvis's rich terrain, a
source for form, context and creativity.

The exhibition will be on view in Mechanicai Hall Gallery, University Museums, University of Delaware,
Newark, DE from September 5 - December 9, 2012.


Installation of Moon Dance The Galaxy Project


Concept:  I proposed a glass and stone exterior wall mosaic entitled Moon Dance.  Moon Dance is an encompassing mosaic that measures 7’ H X48’W.  It is a dynamic abstraction of the lunar orb coursing through time and space.  The viewer is enticed and engaged in the cosmic rhythm of change, as the moon dances from darkness to light and back again, in a boundless cyclical promenade across the sky.


Moon Dance presents a portal into space where our concept of scale

and sense of place and intimacy with the universe is revealed and can be explored as we travel the  pedestrian corridor of the Galaxy Project.

 Travel with me now as  my daughter, Njena Surae Jarvis and I, Martha Jackson Jarvis  build and install

Moon Dance the Galaxy Project.

Construction site, cold day in December Silver Spring, Maryland 2011






Moon Dance 2011     Glass, Stone Mosaic    7ft H X 48ft W                  Jackson Jarvis Studio


See More Message in a Bottle / Scent of Magnolia by Martha Jackson Jarvis - United States Artists - Great art www.unitedstatesartists.org Message in a Bottle/ Scent of Magnolia is a sculpture installation project that explores the meaning of courage and land conservation.

This is the last 11 days of the fundraising for my project Message In a Bottle/ Scent of Magnolia.  I need your contribution right now to help me make my goal.   I am very close to reaching the point where funds will be matched…. Please donate all you can to help. 



I am thrilled to announce an important update and exciting development in the Message in a Bottle / Scent of Magnolia project.  I have an extraordinary opportunity to exhibit the project at the University of Delaware Museum in 2012 working with the curator of African American Art, Julie L. McGee. Also, we are working on possible collaboration with the Botanical Garden and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources to further develop the environmental outreach of the project. This is a major development that advances the scope of the project and provides incredible natural resources and final site for the project. With this amazing opportunity, I need your support even more to make this a reality.  Time is running out!!!! I have just a few more days ( 11 Days ) to raise the target amount.  Please help….


 DONATE….We can do this!!!

Message in a Bottle/ Scent of Magnolia is a sculpture installation project that explores the meaning of courage and land conservation.


Martha Jackson Jarvis


Message in a bottle / Scent of Magnolia  

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce that I have been selected to participate in a new online community of America’s finest artists called USA Projects http://www.unitedstatesartists.org/) created by United States Artists to expand its mission of investing in America’s finest artists.

Together we can join as pioneer members!

   My Profile and Showcase are already up, and I’ve just launched a new project called (Message in a Bottle/ Scent of Magnolia)


Check it out here:



This is a fund raising effort so please try to contribute if possible.

I have some great  donor gifts available for folks interested in supporting me in this effort, and if you can’t support the project financially, I’d love it if you helped to spread the word and tell your friends about it.


Come explore a new online community of America’s finest artists!

USA Projects is a community where America’s finest artists and those that love and support them can share their latest work, discover new artists, enter into a dialog with each other, and make direct donations (of any size, all of which are tax deductible) to new projects created by each artist.  This is the first website in our knowledge that allows direct public donations between art patrons and accredited artists on the Internet.


Thank you so much for your support and interest, together we can make this happen and make history.


Martha Jackson Jarvis

 Installation of Message in a Bottle Componants 2011


´╗┐Detail Installation : Message in a Bottle 2011


Material Girls Exhibitions : Reginald F. Lewis Museum  2011

  • Material Girls opens February 12 and continues until October 16, 2011

Material Girls features an impressive lineup of artists at varying points in their careers including Chakaia Booker, Sonya Clark, Torkwase Dyson, Maya Freelon Asante, Maren Hassinger, Martha Jackson Jarvis, Joyce J. Scott and Renee' Stout. This exhibition highlights the materials they prod, ply and piece together in works that play on unique cultural meanings, personal memories and social agendas.

Curated by Dr. Michelle Joan Wilkinson, Director of Collections and Exhibitions at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Material Girls explores the intersection of art and craft with works of art made with both traditional mediums--wood, Clay, paper, and glass--and non-traditional ones--rubber tires, plastic bags, model cars and human hair. Works on view feature intimate, handcrafted beadwork to monumental sculptures with industrial materials weighing over 1,000 pounds.

"The caliber and creativity of these artists is astounding," notes Dr. Wilkinson.  "Their sculptural works have a highly sensory appeal, ranging from the gleaming visual surfaces of hand blown glass to coarse textures of volcanic stone.  A key concern is environmental issues, and many of the artists use recycled materials in their works."