NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Vol 17.2: Fall 2017 - Page 64

visual arts Oliver Lee Jackson: Composed By Cathy Kimball The works in Composed reveal the signature figural elements that Jackson has consistently insinuated into the work: figures that rise, float or fall; entwined lovers or reclining dreamers; figures that appear to dance or play; and figures that come together in circles or clusters. While these gestural forms have been a persistent means by which Jackson activates the canvas, the marble or the paper, their function has nothing to do with a narrative. Jackson’s intent is not to tell us a story. m Painting, 2010 (11.11.10) Mixed media on canvas 65 3 / 4 ” by 65 5 / 8 ” m Painting, 2011 (5.12.11) Oil-based pigments on linen 108” by 108” Along with the figural elements, he may include a cascade of flowers, a flurry of birds, hats or shoes. As you look at these works, you will find that the imagery does not stand still: what might at first be seen as space or illumination surrounding a form will suddenly reveal another figure. For Jackson, the positioning and gestures of the figures are meant to lead the viewer’s eye, and define an ambiguous space that pulses in a constant state of flux, as figural imagery and field merge into and arise out of each other. Whether at monumental or intimate scale, Jackson’s works draw us in and provoke in us an experience that is meant to be personal — which may be one of recognition, comfort, ambivalence or even unease. Jackson aims to make works that invite us to become lost in an experience of looking. Oliver Lee Jackson regards an empty canvas, an untouched slab of marble, or a blank sheet of paper as an energy field with which he freely collaborates. Works from 1984 to 2016