Featured image for post: Jalen Jackson’s Paintings will be the Focus of the Barton Art Galleries’ Upcoming Exhibition

Jalen Jackson’s Paintings will be the Focus of the Barton Art Galleries’ Upcoming Exhibition

WILSON, N.C. — August 25, 2023 — A beautiful series of paintings by North Carolina based emerging artist Jalen Jackson will open the fall semester at the Barton Art Galleries, on the campus of Barton College. The title of the exhibit is “Why Are You Here” and includes a series of portraits by Jackson that recall memories and scenarios that he has experienced in his life.

Jackson’s exhibition, “Why Are You Here,” opens September 7, with an opening reception 5-7 p.m. There will be a gallery talk by the artist at 6 p.m. The exhibition will run from September 7 through October 6.

"Reasons He Never Went To Sleep Hungry" Painting by Artist Jalen Jackson

“Oil painting has given me the opportunity to tell stories about how and why I’ve become the person I am today,” Jackson explains. “With each brushstroke, I recall memories and  scenarios that I’ve experienced throughout my life. My work combines surrealism and  naturalism, depending on the message I explore. My ideas blossom from flashbacks from my childhood memories or words that touch my soul, both positively and  negatively. I create a sense of nostalgia and give a representation of Black soul for whomever interacts with my work. My art is a reminder to acknowledge my past and where I come from. As an African American, I am aware that the urge to survive when facing adversity is within my bloodline. My paintings feature cultural references in the form  of symbols, patterns, and figures that aim to motivate those who face adversity. The  woman who raised me has been the best mother, teacher, role model, and muse I could ever ask for. My creations are the best way I can show my gratitude for my mother’s support and motivation throughout my journey as an artist.” 

About the artist —  

Jalen Jackson is a visual artist whose paintings explore African American culture, collective memory, and experiences. His paintings depict flashbacks of his childhood and other memories, especially growing up as a son of a single mother.

Jackson began college as a Business Management student at North Carolina A&T University. During his junior year, he signed up for a painting class and rediscovered his love for art that he had fostered as an African American child growing up in Durham. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts from North Carolina A&T State University and has exhibited extensively in North Carolina, including 311 Art Gallery, Anchorlight Studios, Wake Tech, The Fruit, and Artspace.

He is currently the HBCU Artist-in-Residence at Artspace in downtown Raleigh.

For more information, please contact Maureen O’Neill, director of exhibitions and educational programming, and assistant professor of art at Barton College, at 252-399-6476 or moneill@barton.edu.