Oliver Lee Jackson

Andrew Kreps Gallery
22 Cortlandt Alley
New York
Tribeca
Mar 25th — May 8th

Find out more

The painter, printmaker and sculpture Oliver Lee Jackson was also an educator, activist and member of the Black Artists Group (BAG) in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a testament to his achievements that his works on view at Andrew Kreps, which span from the 1970s to today, are utterly confident abstractions. This isn’t to say that his formalist work should be considered separately from his activism—rather, the two impulses coexist in single paintings, seen in lone figures who rise out of blooming, anemone-like washes, as if stand-ins for subjugation and alienation.

Jackson applied his loose brushstrokes—inspired by improvisational jazz—quickly, varying from plosive color to shapes set against pure white, blue or black backgrounds. See, for instance, Painting No. 3, 2021 (9.19.21) (2022), in which a pink-silhouetted figure is set within various coral-like and mitochondrial shapes floating across a dusted bright-blue ground. Or No. 4, 2018 (2.3.18) (2018), where deep red gouges cut into the creamy white background and coalesce into a face with distinct eyes and an ambiguously shaped mouth. Unlike the other works in this exhibition, I read the figure to be a Black man. Jackson insisted on the mutability of his works and their public interpretation, and this figure’s posture suggests an avenue for the viewer to analyze their own instincts as well. Is it a posture of contemplation? Of defeat? Of resistance? Of peace? Nearly every painting in Jackson’s exhibition gives you such pause. —Lisa Yin Zhang

Oliver Lee Jackson, 8.20.18, 2018. Mixed media on gessoed panel, 96 x 72 inches. Photo by Dan Bradica, courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    A traveling exhibition of 69 oil paintings, watercolors and works on paper aims to chart Milton Avery’s trajectory and contextualize his work for a new generation.

  • Through
    May 29th

    Inspired by fractals, Renee Cox’s deity-like collages of Black figures constitute an Afrofuturist creation myth.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    An economical survey of Jonas Mekas, “The Camera Was Always Running” serves as a touching introduction to the Lithuanian filmmaker and champion of avant-garde cinema.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The work in Valentina Vaccarella’s “Bless this Life” rests on a simple irony: monogrammed, embroidered French bridal linens pulled taut across stretcher bars and besmirched by rough images of modern madams.

  • Through
    Jun 6th

    Daniel Lie’s “Unnamed Entities” at the New Museum challenges the antiseptic aim of curation and conservation by imagining a different kind of organic art that needs to be nurtured rather than preserved.

  • Ongoing

    Dia’s recent acquisition of works by Charles Gaines forms the basis of this survey, which includes the artist’s first forays into mathematics-based grid drawings and other early experiments in medium and form.

  • Ongoing

    Day’s End, an elegiac memorial to and stubborn ghost of eras bygone, will also serve as silent witness to the inevitable changes to come.

  • Through
    Jan 2nd 2023

    The sonic encounters provoked by Camille Norment’s elaborate acoustic artworks serve as agents for social consciousness.

  • Through
    May 28th

    The words masterful and mastery assert themselves the instant one encounters the works in “My Body,” both for Nancy Grossman’s command of a wide range of skills and her active state of dominance, identity and selfhood.