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Oliver Jackson: The Order of Making
by Bruce Nixon

As a sculptor, Oliver Jackson is almost free of what we typically call “style.” His work frustrates attempts to establish an overall order based on appearance alone. In many instances, his production begins from a specific mode of resistance, and as these change, so does the work. That, at least, is characteristic. He might, for example, undertake a series based on the formal concept of a head mounted atop a column. It is an art historical cliché, but the familiarity of the motif poses resistance because the concept will not sustain the work, thus forcing the artist toward extremes of imagination and invention as he builds. Jackson does not allow himself to repeat solutions. That, too, is characteristic. How many pieces will he make before his invention flattens out and the original idea no longer engages him? This particular series of untitled works, approximately 10 pieces constructed in 1990 and 1991, incorporated a tremendous array of materials and formal solutions.


Untitled (8.85), 1985. Marble and mixed media, 88 x 44 x 24.5 cm.

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