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 Oliver Lee Jackson  (1935 - )

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Lived/Active: California/Missouri      Known for: figurative, abstract painting, sculpture, printmaking

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Ad Code: 3
Oliver Lee Jackson
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information was submitted by Diane Roby, associate of the artist.

Oliver Lee Jackson is a painter, sculptor, printmaker, and draftsman whose work is grounded in figuration.
Oliver Jackson was born in 1935 in St. Louis, Missouri. He studied at Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington (B.F.A. 1958); served in the U.S. Army (honorable discharge, 1961); and attended University of Iowa, Iowa City (MFA 1963). In the 1960s he was active with community cultural projects in St. Louis as Assistant Director of People's Art Center (1963-4), and Director of Program Uhuru (1967-8), which he created at Pruitt & Igoe public housing to bring arts programs to low-income African Americans.

During those years, Jackson became involved with the Black Artists Group through his association with Julius Hemphill and others, acting as consultant and collaborator on multimedia arts presentations for the African American community (he was not an official BAG member). In 1971, Jackson was a founder of an organization known as the African Continuum, conceived as a vehicle for showing the fullness and continuity of African creative traditions.

As an instructor, lecturer and professor, Oliver L. Jackson taught and lectured in Art, Philosophy, and Pan African Humanities, and was a Curriculum Consultant for the creation of programs in Pan African Studies. He was Art Instructor at St. Louis Community College (1964-7); Curriculum Specialist and Lecturer at Southern Illinois University (1967-9) on philosophy and aesthetics of African peoples; Assistant Professor of Art, Washington University, St. Louis (1967-9); and Associate Professor of Afro-American Studies, Oberlin College OH (1969-70). 

He relocated to California in 1971 to teach in the art department at California State University, Sacramento, where he also developed a curriculum for Pan African Studies and lectured in Pan African Humanities. Jackson continued as Professor of Art at California State University, Sacramento until his retirement in 2002.

Oliver L. Jackson was Artist-in-Residence/Visiting Artist at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1979); Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Wake Forest University and North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem (1980); Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York (1984); University of California, Santa Barbara (1985); University of Washington, Seattle (1985); University of Iowa, Iowa City (1985); California State University Summer Arts Program, Arcata (1986, 1994); University of Illinois, Champaign (1988); University of California, Berkeley (1989); University of Hawaii, Hilo (1993, 2001, 2005, 2008, 2012); San Francisco Art Institute (1993); California College of Arts & Crafts Summer Institute in France, Aix-en-Provence (1999), and Paris (2000); CalArts Summer Institute, Valencia, California (2007); and Flint Hill School, Oakton, Virginia (2006-10). 

In 2000, Harry Cooper (then Curator of Modern Art, Harvard Art Museums) invited Oliver Jackson to serve as Artist in Residence at Harvard, where he created a series of paintings for an exhibition in memory of saxophonist and composer Julius Hemphill. In 2002 Harvard University presented the collaborative installation Duo, featuring paintings by Oliver Jackson and music composed by Marty Ehrlich, in the Corbusier-designed Carpenter Center for Visual Arts on the Harvard campus.   

As a sculptor, Oliver L. Jackson spent extended periods of time in Carrara, Italy, in 1983 and 1985 working in marble, which he has continued in his studio in Oakland, California.

Solo museum exhibitions include the Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, CA (1977, 1984, 1993); St. Louis Art Museum (1980); Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC (1980); Seattle Art Museum (1982); University of California Art Museum, Berkeley (1983); University Art Museum, University of California Santa Barbara (1985); Newport Harbor Art Museum, CA (1993); Harvard University, Cambridge MA (2002); Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis (2012), and others.
Jackson’s works have been included in group exhibitions that include the 1983 Whitney Biennial; the 1984 “International Survey of Recent Painting and Sculpture” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; exhibitions at the Museo do Arte Moderno, Rio de Janeiro; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Seattle Art Museum; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New Orleans Museum of Art, and many others.  

In 1986, Jackson received a commission from the California Arts Council for a painting for the State Office Building in San Francisco, and was commissioned that year by the U.S. General Services Administration to create a marble sculpture for the Federal Courthouse in Oakland. Jackson has also created numerous theater sets, including for plays by Paul Carter Harrison, and for the Cleveland/San Jose Ballet’s 1993 production of The Overcoat.

Awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, 1980-1; Nettie Marie Jones Fellowship, 1984; Art Matters, New York, 1988; Fleishhacker Foundation Eureka Fellowship, 1993; and 2003-4 Award in Painting and Sculpture, Awards in the Visual Arts, Flintridge Foundation, Pasadena, California.      

?Oliver L. Jackson’s works are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Detroit Institute of the Arts; New Orleans Museum of Art; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; St. Louis Art Museum; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; San Jose Museum of Art; Seattle Art Museum, and many other public and private collections. Since 1982 Oliver Jackson’s studio has been in Oakland, California.
1991 Bomani Gallery, San Francisco, "NOMMO: In the Spirit of the Word"
1993 University of Hawaii, Hilo, April 19
1996 Artists Forum, San Francisco, "Materials and Abstraction," October 29, Artists Forum, San Francisco, "Space and Themes," November 19 ?Artists Forum, San Francisco, "Modes and Sensibility," December 3
1997 Artists Forum, San Francisco, "Transformative Process as a Function of Art, October 14 Artists Forum, San Francisco, "Integrity in Making," October 28
1998 Artists Forum, San Francisco, "The African Sensibility: Cosmology," February 3 Artists Forum, San Francisco, "Collecting African Art," February 24 Artists Forum, San Francisco, "The African Sensibility: Aesthetics," March 10
2000 The Art Institute of Boston, Boston, MA, March 9 Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, March  22 Wiegand Gallery, College of Notre Dame, Belmont, CA, "African Sensibilities/Aesthetics," October 4 PANELIST:
1994 Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and San Francisco Art Institute, "Odun De, Odun De: The Global Presence of African Spirit in ?Contemporary Art," October 14-16

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