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Russell Jackson

Russell Jackson was born in 1947 in Auckland.  He comes from a family of artists including his father, Case Jackson, who was a useful model for the possibility of art as a future profession.   As a youngster, Russell was exposed early to the visual arts community – from Keith Patterson to Colin McCahon. 

Jackson studied Art History at Auckland University and Graphic Arts at the Auckland University of Technology, from 1968 – 71.   He learnt lithography at the Elam Art School and did etching classes under Carole Shepheard and Rodney Fumpston.  Following a short time as a graphic artist, (for example, designing stamps), he has been a full time painter for 30 years. 

Russell Jackson draws his subject matter from his interest in ornithology and archaeology.  He is especially known for his coastal landscapes and birdlife rendered with a particularly New Zealand feel, in enamel paint.   Peter Webb has described him as “the most important naturalist painter in New Zealand.”  Jackson says, “My landscapes are affirmative and pleasurable, rather than revolutionary.  I speak directly to my audience, confirming the fact of place and living things in the World.  The art critic for “Art New Zealand”, John Daly-Peoples, calls me a “green artist”, e.g. my series “The Ascension of Trees”. 

“I move between the figurative and the abstract and from the pictorial to picture plane.   To me, they are just different modes of expression.  Half my painting life has been refining and tightening.  Now my work is increasingly loose, open to chance and painterly gesture, e.g. my series “The King is Dead,” featuring animal-head Egyptian gods.  After 20 years in the bush environment of Auckland’s Titirangi, I’ve moved my studio into an old church, I’ve had renovated, in the middle of town.”

'Tern - Whananaki', enamel and oil on board, 500mm x 600mm  SOLD