James A. Dixon: American Artist

There is an expectation in American art that artists of color should focus on social,
political and economic issues in their works.  Rarely do you find African American
artists who devote themselves exclusively to the challenges of exploring form as a
means of projecting creative, intellectual and original ideas.  The pressure to focus
on the historical traumas and triumphs of Blacks in America has caused many
African American artists to limit themselves to documenting sociological issues with
their art.  They focus on these ideological issues, they say, largely to demonstrate
their commitment to the struggles for social equity and justice in a polarized
American society.

James A. Dixon, however, does not subscribe to such dogmas.  For him, art is a
manifestation of individual talent and sensibility.  That sensibility, in his opinion
naturally and solidly roots the individual black artist within the mainstream
American aesthetic tradition.  Once rooted in that tradition, even the African
American artists is free to explore visual forms as boldly and courageously as
possible, without feeling a sense of betraying his or her community.  Dixon
demonstrates, through his art, that the freedom to create is a responsibility that
artists of color must learn to cultivate.  He thus brings to his work that sense of
artistic freedom, critically balanced by self-imposed creative responsibility.

Dixon's ability to master several materials and mediums, including painting,
sculpture and illustration, clearly demonstrates his freedom to widely explore every
frontier of art.  His refusal to limit himself to just one style of work, apart from
reminding you of the eclectic spirit of such artists as Picasso and Cezanne, further
demonstrates his need to freely create, without feeling limited to any single formula.
Perhaps the strongest aspect of his work is his ability to explore the slippery
terrain of abstract art, both in two and three dimensions.  His abstractions do not
alienate the viewer, who is always able to identify with certain aspects of the
composition.  While venturing into abstraction, he succeeds in introducing familiar
features from reality, as a way of demonstrating the organic connection between
both forms of perception.

Dixon, as an artist of color, uses his cultural experience and knowledge as a way
of achieving universality, rather than as an isolating barrier to the mainstream
culture.  His work transcends ethnic stereotypes.  He therefore appeals to the
deepest, instinctive essence of humanity in the viewer.  His audience is able to
appreciate his art as an expression that unites; rather than divide diverse
communities and interests.  In that manner, Dixon is a global citizen, whose work
becomes a crossroads to exploring enduring and universal artistic principles.

Moyo Okediji, Ph.D
Curator, Africana and Oceanic Arts, Denver Art Museum
James A. Dixon
Fine Artist of Sculptures, Illustrations and Paintings
Created by Unique