Oliver Lee Jackson

American  •  b. 1935


Oliver Lee Jackson is an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor whose complex body of work is influenced by a vast range of sources from the Renaissance to Modernism, with principles of rhythm and improvisation drawn from his study of African cultures and American jazz. Having spent his formative years in the vibrant, cross-disciplinary arts scene of St. Louis in the mid-1960’s, Jackson’s work has been particularly influenced by his involvement with avant-garde jazz musicians at the center of the Black Artists Group (BAG) movement, most notably the free jazz musician Julius Hemphill, who became a lifelong friend and collaborator. After six decades of art making, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. will present a major Oliver Lee Jackson retrospective in March 2019. 


  • Selected honors: National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1980-81); Nettie Marie Jones Fellowship (1984); Art Matters Grant (1988); Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship (1993); Award in Painting and Sculpture, Flintridge Foundation, CA (2003/2004)

"The painting and everything in it - whether it’s the ‘realism’ of a Vermeer or the ‘abstraction’ of a Pollock - is a vehicle for something beyond it. It has to be put together as perfectly as possible, like any vehicle, but it is the vision beyond that gives the painting meaning.”

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