Oliver Lee Jackson debuts original body of work in new exhibition at di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art

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Oliver Lee Jackson debuts original body of work in new exhibition at di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art
Over several decades, Jackson – whose studio is located in Oakland, California – has created a complex body of work that masterfully weaves together visual influences ranging from the Renaissance to modernism with principles of rhythm and improvisation drawn from his study of African cultures and American jazz.



NAPA, CA.- When asked about viewers of his work, acclaimed American painter, printmaker and sculptor Oliver Lee Jackson has responded, “It’s for anybody’s eyes. Any eyes will do.” di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art announces a new exhibition guest curated by Diane Roby, Oliver Lee Jackson: Any Eyes, opening Friday, November 19, 2021, and continuing through Sunday, February 20, 2022.

This exhibition presents – for “any eyes” – a selection of Jackson’s works in painting, sculpture, and mixed media. While recent retrospectives at the National Gallery of Art and Saint Louis Art Museum have brought renewed critical attention to Jackson’s paintings and works on paper, this exhibition highlights the true breadth of his practice, featuring previously unseen works in materials ranging from burlap, felt and paint to steel, wood and marble.

“We’re thrilled that Jackson – so well-known as a painter for decades – has chosen di Rosa as his venue to exhibit these sculptures and tapestries for the first time,” said di Rosa Curatorial Associate Twyla Ruby. “Devotees of his past work are going to be in for a real treat.”

"Re-casting Oliver Lee Jackson as a ‘maker’ rather than an ‘artist,’ this exhibition sheds light on connections between his painterly and sculptural practices,” said di Rosa Executive Director Kate Eilertsen.

Over several decades, Jackson – whose studio is located in Oakland, California – has created a complex body of work that masterfully weaves together visual influences ranging from the Renaissance to modernism with principles of rhythm and improvisation drawn from his study of African cultures and American jazz. Born in St. Louis, Jackson taught at California State University, Sacramento, for many years. His artworks are also in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Detroit Institute of the Arts; and many other public and private collections.

“You’re the spectator, and I’m a spectator, after I finish,” Jackson has said of his works. Exhibition curator Roby – who has worked with Jackson for nearly 40 years – is an archivist who also manages the artworks inventory of the Lawrence Ferlinghetti Trust.

“If you’re familiar with Jackson's work, you’ll notice certain thematic images and figural elements in this exhibition that have consistently appeared over decades: figures floating, rising, reaching, embracing, pushing or pulling, hanging or suspended,” said Roby. “The point, for Jackson, is to enable an experience between the viewer and the work, a state of being that may provoke feelings of tenderness, or joy, or sympathy, or conflict, or ambivalence, or all of these at once. All he asks of viewers is to open their eyes and look.”










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