Jonathan Green | John W. Jones | Leroy Campbell | Carol A.Simmons | James Denmark
 
   Description and example of the Lithography Process

Title: Farm Woman
Artist: Jonathan Green
Medium: Original hand drawn lithograph
19 colors printed on Arches paper 270grs
Edition size: 100 with certificate of authenticity
Image size: 22.5" X 30"
Framed size (approx.): 40" x 46"
Net Cost with Frame $4750.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Restless artistic temperament brings painter back to Lowcountry roots

By Adam Parker
The Post and Courier
Sunday, July 19, 2009
 

After 10 years living in Chicago and more than two decades in Naples, Fla., painter Jonathan Green is coming home to the Lowcountry.

The artist, widely known for his use of intense colors and emotional explorations of Gullah culture, will take up residence on Daniel Island by the end of July, he said.

The move is partly a consequence of a restless artistic temperament, he said.

"I'm returning to Charleston because I think I've done enough in Naples as an artist and resident," he said. "I have to move around a little bit ... to gain experience and knowledge."

Green, whose work has been featured at the Gibbes Museum and other institutions, is an art activist, promoting the idea that art education should be an intrinsic component of any school curriculum. "People just don't understand the importance of the arts," Green said.

Black culture in particular is poorly represented in the world of visual arts, yet exposure to painting, a universal language everyone can understand, is a critical way to learn about identity, faith, history and contributions to society, he said.

"We focus strongly on everybody else's culture," he said, adding that it's time to do a better job presenting black culture.

Green, 53, said his passion is informed by his childhood, growing up in rural South Carolina and New York City and reared by his mother and grandmother. In those years, he did not see his own culture repre-sented in major U.S. institutions despite the significant contributions of black people, he said. Black culture still is woefully underrepresented, he said.

He is involved in the development of an arts-infused curriculum for the new Sanders-Clyde Elementary School scheduled to open in January. He has designed a mural for one of the school's outer walls.

Born and raised in Gardens Corner, a rural community not far from Beaufort, Green attended Huspah Baptist Church, a reincarnation of the Tabernacle Church founded by Robert Smalls. From an early age, he was made aware of history and celebrated his cultural inheritance, he said.

In the Windy City, where he attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he became active in politics, then disenchanted by the city's political turmoil, he said. Still, it left him with a clear notion that art must take politics into account.

He said he is driven today by two main ideas: To make sure art is ensconced in our community its public facilities, schools and churches and to help women understand that they are the "force and guide" ensuring that their children conceive of themselves as free to pursue all opportunities.

"No mother would not want her child to have human rights," Green said. Any mother who fails to stand up for her children white, black, straight, gay has abdicated her responsibilities, he said.

Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum, said Charleston can only benefit from having someone of Green's professional character and reputation.

"I think it's not only natural, but a wonderful chain of events," Mack said.

The Gibbes long has provided Green with a forum for his art and ideas. The latest show dedicated to his work was the 2004 exhibition "Rhythms of Life: The Art of Jonathan Green."

He has worked extensively in the Charleston area, creating a Spoleto Festival poster, joining panel discussions, producing his famous painting, "Seeking," which hangs in the library at Mepkin Abbey, and promoting the arts in the community. Mack said his relocation to Daniel Island will raise Green's profile regionally and result in new opportunities.

"This could begin a new chapter in his life," Mack said. "And aren't we all lucky that we get to observe this firsthand?"

Reach Adam Parker at 937-5902 or aparker@postandcourier.com.