Theme/Style – Modernism, landscape, interiors, figurative art, still life
Media – Oils, watercolor, drawings, lithographs, ornamental screens, leather painting
Artistic Focus – In an article about Berkeley, California artist Gordena Parker Jackson, it is noted that, “Although she studied several years at art schools, she does not feel her present work is in any sense a result of that training, but is distinctly a personal expression, the result of study and experiment in her studio. She is particularly interested in expressing the intense brilliance of the California landscape in full sunlight.” Indeed, it is her highly personal style that gives Jackson’s watercolors a startling, jewel-like quality, and conveys to the viewer the magic she saw in nature and her surroundings.
Career Highlights –
- Gordena Bland Parker was born on January 3, 1900, in Pleasanton, California. After settling in Berkeley in 1917, she enrolled at the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts), Oakland, where she met fellow artist Osman “Ajax” Jackson, whom she married in 1925.
- Gordena Parker Jackson was a member of the California Book Plate Society, and her work was shown in an exhibition of the group’s book plates held at the Berkeley League of Fine Arts in 1926, along with other local artists including John Emmett Gerrity.
- Jackson exhibited in the Oakland Art Gallery’s annual show in 1932, with her husband, Osman Jackson, as well as other artists including David Park, Marion Parsons, Lucy Pierce, and Frede Vidar; and she would continue to exhibit there through the early 1940s.
- By 1932 Jackson had exhibited with the San Francisco Art Association at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, and also at the Gelber-Lilienthal Gallery in San Francisco and the Denny-Watrous Gallery in Carmel. That same year there was also an exhibit of her watercolors at the McHenry Public Library in Modesto, sponsored by the American Association of University Women.
- In 1933 there was a solo show of Jackson’s watercolors at Oakland’s Mills College Art Gallery, and another solo show at the Stanford University Art Gallery in 1939.
- Jackson continued to exhibit with the San Francisco Art Association and also the Santa Cruz Art League throughout the 1930s and early 1940s.
- In 1940 she and her husband exhibited along with Ray Boynton, George Harris, Sargent Johnson, Mine Okubo, and others at an exhibition in the Oakland City Hall Rotunda.
- A 19th-century saddle painted by Jackson was exhibited in a 1946 traveling show called “Roundup – Cowboys and Indians” sponsored by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.
- Though Gordena and Osman Jackson had independent artistic careers, they enjoyed working together on domestic projects at home in Berkeley, including painting their studio-cottage, creating decorative objects, and even making their own shoes.
- During the 1940s Jackson also exhibited at the California State Fair, 1941; the Albany Institute of History and Art (New York), 1941, 1943, and 1945; the National Academy of Design, New York, 1942 and 1943; and the Laguna Beach Art Association, 1944.
- Gordena Parker Jackson remained active as an artist until shortly before she passed away in Berkeley, California in 1993.
Selection of Works by this Artist
Bibliographic references are available upon request.