Critics’ Picks

Suzanne Jackson, Moons in Double Copper Sea, 2017, acrylic, wood veneer, and detritus on paper, 35 1/2 x 45".

Los Angeles

Suzanne Jackson

O-Town House
672 S. Lafayette Park Place Suite 44
February 9–March 23

History reverberates throughout this small exhibition of Suzanne Jackson’s recent work. Jackson was born in Saint Louis in 1944, and, in 1953, her family moved to Fairbanks, Alaska; in 1961, she began studying art and dance at San Francisco State University. The O-Town House gallery is on the second level of the Granada Buildings, just a few doors down from the erstwhile location of Gallery 32, which Jackson opened in the same building and ran from 1968­ to 1970. Having studied with Charles White at Otis Art Institute in the late 1960s, she took to heart his injunction that art be a vehicle for community action. Gallery 32 showed artists in her circle, including David Hammons and Betye Saar; held fundraisers for the Watts Towers Arts Center and the Black Panther Party; and generated conversations that lasted late into the night in her upstairs apartment, from which Senga Nengudi, John Outterbridge, Hammons, Saar, and others forged their thinking. A vitrine in the front room holds ephemera from Gallery 32, including a price list from a David Hammons show in which everything was five hundred dollars or less. Only one work sold, for thirty dollars.

Jackson’s work at O-Town House is mostly from the past ten years. The painting Moons in Double Copper Sea, 2017, appears to be all dirty reddish earth tones from ten feet away, but close viewing reveals fugitive streaks of fluorescent tourmaline and sunset tones of orange, purple, and canary yellow. Beneath these colors, two overlapping circles made of coarse wood veneer are mounted on paper and partially slathered with clear acrylic. Several other works were done entirely in thick paint without any support, laid down on glass or plastic and then pulled up once dry. Jackson’s works are rough-and-tumble, capturing the spirit of an artist who was equally interested in supporting others and herself.