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 Jonathan Green  (1955 - )

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Lived/Active: Florida/South Carolina      Known for: Afro-American southern genre

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Jonathan Green
An example of work by Jonathan Green
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jonathan Green is known primarily for painting everyday life of the Gullah people and the rural inland marshes and surrounding Sea Islands of South Carolina. Work, family celebrations, prayer, storytelling, and a variety of recreational activities are documented in Green's paintings, reflecting his intrinsic sense of history and place.

Green was born in 1955 in Gardens Corner, South Carolina. He is a professional artist who graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982. Following graduation, Green traveled widely -- throughout the United States, in both Canada and Mexico, and to the West Indies, Switzerland, Germany, England and France.

While his work has ranged in styles, his best known style might best be termed "narrative realism." It is through his narrative art style that Green captures and records his early life experiences and the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah community in which he was raised. It is Green's mastery of color and skillful use of the human figure, which allows him to preserve and share with the viewer a deep sense of community, and how the challenges of love, work and belonging are met.

Since 1982 Jonathan Green has had 4 traveling exhibitions through the United States, 35 solo exhibitions including 11 museums, and 33 group exhibitions including 17 museums. In 1999 his work was included in three national group-traveling exhibitions throughout the United States.

Green's work has been included and reviewed in major art publications and cultural journals. He has been honored with commissions to Illustrate books and articles ranging from literary publications to the fine arts. The University of South Carolina Press features 180 of his paintings in the publication entitled "Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green". He also received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of South Carolina in 1995. In February 2005, a traveling show incorporating vignettes of 22 of Green's paintings will open in Columbia, South Carolina. Titled "Off the Wall & Onto the Stage", it is a performance combining music, dance and the visual arts.

Green currently resides and paints from his studio in Naples, Florida, yet regularly returns to his home community for a sense of community and belonging.

Green states, "I am drawn to rural environments that afford a sense of space and silence and an opportunity to unobtrusively observe daily functions of others as we all purse life's mission of work, love, and belonging. Agrarian life allows me to experience how we work in harmony with the mysterious and changing fabric of nature. It is the small, but critical tasks of daily life that I find most simulating and reflective of the quality of essential, personal, community, and social values."

The art of Jonathan Green is difficult to categorize. During his formal art training, he studied established styles and has used a variety of design approaches. The terms regionalist, modernist, figurative, narrative, colorist, representational, universal have all been used the describe the paintings of Jonathan Green. The abstract characteristics of Jonathan Green's figurative work distinguishes Green from other regionalists and is a barometer of his biculturalism.

Jonathan Green's paintings are primarily oil on linen with some of his earlier work being of oil on board. Periodically he paints acrylic on canvas as well as paper.


1997 "Clemente C. Pickney Award" honor bestowed by the South Carolina House of Representatives for outstanding contributions to art and culture, August, 23, 1997
"South Carolina Senate Resolution" by McKinley Washington, Jr., for artistic and cultural contributions to South Carolina, August, 1997

1996 Honorary Doctorate Degree in Fine Arts University of South Carolina Columbia, South Carolina
"Alberta G. Peacock Award" for contributions to the arts Naples, Florida
"Borough of Manhattan Proclamation naming Jonathan Green Day", New York, New York, for artistic contributions to culture and the arts, October 19, 1996.

2001 Echoes of the South, Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum Jacksonville, Florida - April 9th June 15th 2001

2000 A Sense of Place: The Art of Jonathan Green, Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs, Florida May June 2000.

Coastal Living: The Art of Jonathan Green The Self Family Arts Center, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, November 1999 January 5, 2000

1998 The Art of Jonathan Green, Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, Danville, Virginia, September - October

1995 From Deep Roots to New Ground: The Gullah Landscape of Jonathan Green, A continuation of the traveling exhibition organized by the McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC with 1995 venues at the Philharmonic Center for Performing Arts, Naples, Florida; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, SC; The Museum of Greenwood, SC; and the Longwood Center for Visual Arts, Farmville, VA.

1994 The Art of Jonathan Green -- Featured Artist -- Cousen Rose Gallery, Martha's Vineyard, MA

"Deep Roots to New Ground: The Gullah Landscape of Jonathan Green", A continuation of the traveling exhibition organized by the McKissick Museum, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC with 1994 venues in Charlotte, SC, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, FL; the California Afro-American Museum in Los Angeles, CA; and the Greenville County Museum of Art, in Greenville, SC.

Biography from Morris & Whiteside Galleries:
Born and raised in South Carolina, Jonathan Green received his formal art training from the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago in 1982.  After graduation, Green traveled extensivly through the United States and Europe, but it was the subjects and themes of his home that became his most popular subject matter.

In his work, Green uses his own personal experiences of family, community, and tradition to communicate to the viewer.  Using simple shapes rich with color, Green evokes the feeling of a hot summer day or a breezy ride on a wooden swing.  His figures are ambiguous, yet the viewer feels that they have seen them before, relating the image to their own experiences or memories.

Often referred to as one of the most culturally significant African-American Artists of out time, Green is a master in showing the simple beauty that revolves around our everyday tasks.

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