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Oliver Lee Jackson
No. 15 (Oil Painting on Metallic Silver Spray Paint Background)

2017

Price Upon Request

About

Born in 1935, Oliver Lee Jackson’s initial emergence as an artist occurred amidst the vibrant, cross-disciplinary arts scene of St. Louis in the mid-1960s where Jackson led a series of community arts programs. Though never formally a member, Jackson was closely affiliated with the landmark Black Artists Group (BAG), which fostered collaboration among black musicians, dancers and theater performers in the St. Louis area from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. Jackson was particularly influenced by his involvement with avant-garde jazz musicians at the center of the BAG movement, most notably the free jazz musician Julius Hemphill, who became a lifelong friend and collaborator. Nurtured by the spirit of mid-century artistic freedom characterized by modern jazz and abstract expressionism, Oliver Lee Jackson embarked on a decades-long trajectory of singular artistic experimentation. Jackson’s sustained approach to art-making remained determinedly individualistic even as it was profoundly informed by a dizzying array of influences, including West African sculpture, El Greco, Giotto, Rembrandt, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Willem de Kooning, the post-war COBRA movement, Jackson Pollock and Philip Guston. Critics have long-remarked upon Jackson’s uncanny ability to synthesize such a broad array of references into a highly-unique, individualistic style. Artwork by Oliver Lee Jackson is held in the permanent collections of many institutions including the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC); the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY); the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston, MA); the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago, IL); the Detroit Institute of the Arts (Detroit, MI); the New Orleans Museum of Art (New Orleans, LA); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco, CA); the San Jose Museum of Art (San Jose, CA); and the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA). In "No. 15," a completely abstract composition, a cacophony of colors and forms explode outward from a central point on the panel. The viewer's eye can follow Jackson's hand in creating his expressionist mark on the canvas, via spray paint and brush, much like a musician creating an improvisational jazz music piece would contrive on-the-spot variations of a central medley. "No. 15" was exhibited at "Untitled Original", a solo exhibition of paintings, prints, and various works of sculpture and assemblage spanning much of Jackson's career. "Untitled Original", which ran from 31 May to 3 November 2018 at Burning in Water New York, was the first exhibition of Jackson's art in New York in over 25 years.

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