Skip to Main Content

Conversations with Artists: Oliver Lee Jackson

Oliver Lee Jackson, artist, in conversation with Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of modern art, National Gallery of Art

American painter, printmaker, and sculptor Oliver Lee Jackson (b. 1935) has created a complex body of work which 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. Held on September 15, 2019, this conversation between the artist and Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of modern art, marked the last day of the exhibition Oliver Lee Jackson: Recent Paintings. The exhibition presented some 25 paintings created over the past 15 years, many of which were seen publicly for the first time. Jackson’s often large-scale paintings blend figural elements of bodies pointing, kneeling, drawing, and playing instruments with colorful abstract compositions and vigorously worked surfaces. Each painting creates a space and world of its own, captivating viewers and challenging them to spend time with the mesmerizing works.