In 2017, Huntsville artist Lee Jamison embarked on a trip with sketchbook in hand, recording his impressions and recollections of East Texas, a region he has called home for about 45 years. Having built a solid reputation as a respected Texas Regionalist painter, Jamison, with other collectors and observers of the Texas art scene, has become convinced that East Texas, while rich in natural beauty and historic interest, has typically been under-represented as a subject of serious artists. Landscapes and scenes of the Texas Hill Country and the Trans-Pecos abound in collections and galleries across the state, but East Texas, in Jamison’s view, has received short shrift.
Seeking to remedy this lack of parity, the artist traveled the winding roads and tree-lined passages of East Texas for well over a year, observing, sketching, and journaling along the way. The result is an astonishing visual record of contemporary East Texas land, lore, and culture as viewed through the eyes of an accomplished painter. These fine works are further enriched by the artist’s poignant and insightful literary observations, providing backstories and personal accounts for each image. A thoughtful introduction by historian Carolina Castillo Crimm provides the ideal entry into Jamison’s loving treatment of the region’s vistas and stories.
Exhibiting an unshakeable awareness of place and a poet’s sensibility, Lee Jamison’s Ode to East Texas stands as an affectionate hymn to a familiar region, an invitation to a new appreciation of its qualities. Collectors, students, and aficionados of Texas art will be grateful for this fresh examination of a region too long overlooked.