Incisive: An untitled collage from 1998 by Oliver Jackson.
By Michael S. Gant
A NEW display at San Jose State University's Thompson Gallery shows off the considerable printmaking skills of veteran painter Oliver Jackson. His large, confident intaglio and drypoint pieces feature repeated, subtly modified motifs: reclining nudes, a child bending down and scribing a circle on the ground, a calla lily on a stalk, muscular wrestling bodies in a Renaissance mode. These evocative images, rendered in dense thickets of thin jet-black lines pressed into large sheets of handmade paper, are then layered with torn pieces of other etchings stapled to the surface. In one piece, the casually ripped fragments of images seem to float down the surface to gather at the bottom like broken visions. Washes of red and blue stain add startling outbursts of color. A drypoint with mixed media (all the pieces are untitled) works upward from a profusion of soft runny black washes to cloudy red outlines that look like spirits escaping from hell.
Oliver Jackson: Drawing/The Incised Line runs through May 19 at the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, School of Art and Design, San Jose State University. The gallery is open Tuesday 11am-4pm, 6-7:30pm and Wednesday-Friday 11am-4pm. (408.924.4723)
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