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Jonathan Green

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The Reception

First Sunday

Gladiolus Harvest

Bessie Mae

Sharing Chores

Noon Wash

Mullet Friday

Sweet Grass Harvest

Sweet Grass Carriers

Father & Son


Jonathan Green is considered by many art critics and reviewers to be one of the most important painters of the Southern experience. Green's work, which has been exhibited at major national and international venues, reflects a deep sense of history and place. A mature artist in his forties, he has been noted in hundreds of art reviews and publications, perhaps the most noteworthy in Gullah Images: The Art of Jonathan Green, by the University of South Carolina Press. Like other master artists such as Edward Hopper, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence, Jonathan Green captures and records an essential part of American culture.

Born and raised in Gardens Corner, South Carolina, he attended Beaufort High School where he found support for his interest in the arts. In the early 1970s he studied at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, earning a Bachelor of Fine Art degree. He was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in fine art from the University of South Carolina in 1996 for his extensive recording of southern culture and traditions.

Raised by elders in a cohesive Southern rural African American community, Green learned of his rich history from tales, stories, and rituals that had been passed down for generations through the oral tradition. Green's art captures the life of rural African American communities in South Carolina through paintings, prints, and constructions that chronicle the vibrant history and culture of people who lived in harmony with the landscape and each other.

His art serves as a visual historical memory and documentation of contributions made by immediate and extended family members to their community and to Southern culture. There is simplicity, honesty, and integrity in his work that imbues in one a proud sense of purpose, a refined character, and a deep belief in the value of self and others.

The subject matter of his art addresses essential human merit: a sense of community, a network of relationships to extended family, a cooperative harmony with nature, and a need for resolution and belonging. A monograph published by the McKissick Museum in Columbia, South Carolina states, "Jonathan Green's work comes from the Southern experience. Out of his fond childhood memories come celebrations of life. His goal is to bring forth a story and reflect it visually in a language to which people can relate. That is why his paintings appear pure, innocent, and honest. He pulls the past generations to the present and builds a bridge between the two. In the process he emphasizes the importance of love, belonging, and a sense of spirituality and work."

Green's art is grounded in his life experiences with a respect for the sacredness of tradition and heritage. His strong compositional skills, his brilliant expressions of color, and his use of materials reflect a mastery of modernist techniques. His love for the human figure and the placement of his subjects in harmony with their community and environment are among his many universal strengths as an artist.

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