Appleton Museum of Art
of Florida State University and
Central Florida Community College
The exhibition Legendary Florida opened on August 31 and runs through October 31,1999. It consists of seventeen large-scale works by Orlando artist Jackson Walker. The paintings depict, in vivid color and incredible detail, scenes taken from the pages of Florida's rich and colorful history. (right: The Guns of Anastasia, oil on panel, 42 X 66)
Twelve of the paintings-including a new one just completed for the series-are from the collection of the artist. An additional five works are on loan from the Florida National Guard Heritage Art Collection. The paintings are large-scale, 3 feet by 5 feet and larger, and each tells the story of a particular event in Florida history. In Wrath of the Privateers, we recall the raid on Spanish St. Augustine by Sir Francis Drake's fleet in 1586. A gentler moment is recorded in the painting The Flower Hunter which depicts naturalist William Bartram on the St. Johns River in 1773. In The Forlorn Hope of Fort King Road, we can be a witness to what is known as the Dade Massacre which took place on December 28, 1835. Departing for Destiny paints the scene in Tampa, as soldiers and sailors assembled for the invasion of Cuba. Prominent among those portrayed in this painting are Theodore Roosevelt and the Rough Riders as well as artist Frederic Remington who went to Cuba as a war correspondent. (right: Departing for Destiny, oil on panel, 36 x 60)
Jackson Walker devoted months and sometimes years of research to each of the subjects. Every uniform, every weapon is authentic as is the vegetation and the architecture in the background. "The placement and composition of rendered subjects, combined with an extensive study of historical content are foremost in the creation of my works," says Walker. "It is my intention to present a view of a moment in time within the bounds of historical reality and to tell this tale in a dramatic and colorful portrayal." (left: The Flower Hunter, oil on panel, 36 x 48)
Walker is a native of Florida. His family's roots in the state go back to the pioneering days. He was born in Panama City but, as he came from a military family, lived in many locations around the U.S. and Great Britain during his early years. When his father retired, the family settled in Stuart where Jackson attended school. After graduation, he enlisted in the army and did an extensive tour of duty in Vietnam. Upon his return, he worked for the Stuart News as artist and cartoonist. His career later expanded into the area of graphic design and he worked throughout the state as art director, illustrator and designer. (left: The Captive Osceola, oil on panel, 42 x 60)
In 1988, Walker and his wife settled in Orlando and he began to paint full time. He felt a strong desire to tell stories and found his paintings becoming visual narratives. He drew upon his appreciation of history and his interest in military subjects. In recent years, he combined these interests with his love for his Florida "homeland" and created the series of paintings that he calls The Legendary Florida Collection. He says his work has been influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite style as well as by the work of Howard Pyle, N.C. Wyeth, and Frederic Remington. (right: Seminole Steer, oil on panel, 24 x 36)
His works are included in public and private collections-notably those of the Florida National Guard and the National Guard Bureau in Washington, D.C. They have also been reproduced in national publications, books and television productions, specifically for the A&E Network and The History Channel.
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