April 1997

Jonathan Green

Artist

Jonathan Green

A native of Gardens Corner, South Carolina, Jonathan Green (American, b 1955) was raised in the black “Gullah” culture of the coastal Southeast and grew up speaking the region’s distinct language. As a nationally recognized artist of southern culture and heritage, Green is often placed in context with other important artists of the African-American experience such as Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett and John Biggers. His work celebrates the work, daily life, community and dignity of people of the rural south. Green graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1982 and holds an honorary doctoral degree from the University of South Carolina. Following his graduation Green traveled widely – throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, Switzerland, Germany, England and France. Green’s work has been published in the book, Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green (University of South Carolina Press, 1996) and is included in the permanent collections of the United States Embassy in Sierra Leone, Museum Würtz in Kuenzelsau, Germany, the McKissick Museum (Columbia, South Carolina), the Naples Museum of Art (Naples, Florida), the Morris Museum of Art (Augusta, Georgia), The Norton Museum of Art (West Palm Beach, Florida), the Gibbes Museum of Art (Charleston, South Carolina) and other museums throughout the world. Green’s work has been the subject of five national traveling exhibitions throughout the United States and 51 solo exhibitions. The art of Jonathan Green has also inspired a nationally-touring ballet, Off the Wall & Onto the Stage: Dancing the Art of Jonathan Green. In his images of celebrating people, flowing fabrics and sweeping landscapes Green captures the spirit of South Carolina’s Gullah country. While these dreamscapes may spring from simple childhood memories, they echo profoundly human themes. Through his art Green shows the dignity, beauty and continuity of the past combined with the energy, exuberance and creativity of the present.