as a “painter's painter,” Jack Ogden has been creating compelling
works for over fifty years. His subject matter ranges from still-life
arrangements and studio scenes to portraits and figures. His work
is informed by numerous sources, including Greek mythology, current
events, other artists’ works, and his own personal narrative,
including his naval experience. Recurring themes in his work,
such as the artist and his muse, or the artist as navigator in
the artistic journey, add depth to his imagery.
Ogden’s most recent paintings, oils on wood and canvas, have a looseness and flow that is quite appealing, even when the figures themselves may not always be characters you’d want to meet in a dark alley. Rough-hewn figures that evoke mid-twentieth century archetypes populate these paintings—a group of working-class laborers peer at the viewer; a zoot suit–wearing man who might be a gangster (or a movie star) smokes a cigarette. Sailors and cowboys, bankers and gangsters, these are the characters Ogden paints. At last, the male gaze turns with good humor to the images and stereotypes of masculinity in our culture, and the results are both refreshing and charming.
Jack Ogden himself,
however, has no personal or ideological axes to grind. He makes
pared-down oil paintings of cowboys and robber barons, but rather
than reframe myths of the American West as a postmodernist might,
Ogden remains a formalist, committed to executing simple narratives
and portraits with the fewest marks needed to establish character,
setting, and mood. His large-scale oils aim for a bravura effect,
but it’s his small-scale portraits that show how much impact can
be squeezed from the smallest gestures. In works like Two
Men in Tuxes, the faces are smears, the backdrop is built
from a few black strokes, and the domes atop the silver service
tray are opposing shadows.
his B.A. in 1960 and M.A. in 1962 from California State University,
Sacramento, where he also taught for many years. His work is the
permanent collections of the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, the
Oakland Museum of California, the Butler Museum, and New Britain
Museum, as well as the Pilot Hill Collection and California State
University/Student Union in Sacramento. He has been published
twenty-one times since 1963 in such publications as Art in
America (1971), Art Forum (1963–66), San Francisco
Chronicle (1972), Artweek (1990, 1994), and Art
of California (1992). He has had over seventy solo shows
since 1958 and thirty-eight group shows from 1984 to 2004. Ogden
has received numerous honors and awards over his career.
Sanchez Art Center is located at 1220 Linda Mar Blvd., Pacifica, 1.5 miles from Highway 1, in the buildings with the colorful mural facing the street. Following the May 27 opening, galleries are open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 to 5 pm, through June 26.