A Door is not a Window

Herb Jackson painting (detail)

Herb Jackson paintings

On display in the Sanderson-Black Gallery
August 26, 2017-January 28, 2018 (extended through Feb 1, 2018)

This presentation features major abstract works from the past two decades by Raleigh native Herb Jackson, one of North Carolina’s premier contemporary artists. The exhibition employs special lighting made possible by support from Wells Fargo.

Herb Jackson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1945. He cannot recall a time when he was not busy painting and drawing, but remembers beginning to sell his artwork by the time he was ten or eleven. In 1962, he won first place in the North Carolina Artists Exhibition, an annual juried show for state residents sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art, while he was still a student at Broughton High School. The runners-up were art professors with established careers and decades of experience. A local art critic dismissed the teenager’s win at the time as merely a lucky “fluke.”

Many years after Jackson had won his first award at age seventeen – and long after his reputation had achieved national status – he finally received a retraction and apology from the critic who had downplayed his early win. “You were no fluke,” the former critic admitted.

In 1999, Jackson received the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor in the state. In 2015, he was given the North Caroliniana Society Award for extraordinary contributions to the state’s cultural heritage. Jackson’s work is now in more than 80 collections, including the Baltimore Museum of Art; the British Museum; the Brooklyn Museum; Chicago Art Institute; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and the Whitney Museum of Art, NYC. A Door is not a Window is his first museum show in his hometown in many years.

The title of the exhibition comes from an explanation Jackson once offered about his work. “The history of narrative painting,” he said, “is based on representing a reality as if were viewed through a window, whereas I am interested in presenting a new entity that one enters, as if by a door.”

Pictured: Manu, acrylic, 1994, 84″ x 144″