In a career spanning decades, Oliver Lee Jackson has developed a singular body of work, created complex and layered images in which suggestions of the figure emerge from abstract fields of vivid color. Synthesizing references that span from Rennaissance painting to Modernism, and also include Jackson's own studies of American Jazz and African cultures, his works eschew a single narrative or reading. Instead, each work becomes an invitation for close looking, encouraging the viewer to form their own emotional response, stating that his work is "for anybody’s eyes. any eyes will do.”
Oliver Lee Jackson lives and works in Oakland. Jackson was associated with the Black Artists Group, which was founded in St. Louis in 1968. Jackson’s work is currently the subject of solo exhibitions at the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, and the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, Napa, CA, both on view through February 2022. Other past institutional exhibitions of Jackson’s work include the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, 2021-22, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 2019, Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, 2012, Harvard University, Cambridge MA, 2002, University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1985, University of California Art Museum, Berkeley, 1983, Seattle Art Museum, 1982, St. Louis Art Museum, 1980, among others. His works are held in the public collections of The Metropolitan Museum, New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Museum of Modern Art, New York, The National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, Portland Art Museum, Oregon, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, St. Louis Art Museum, Detroit Institute of the Arts, and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco among others.