Artist Jerry Jordan (center) with his Omega Psi Phi frat brothers, Dr. Kweku Ramel Akyirefi Smith and Dr. Darrell Williams

Jerry Jordan is a household name to many across Madison. His artistic talents earned him a place among a growing movement of painters that are reinterpreting classical painting into what is called contemporary realism.

Now, art lovers in Milwaukee will, too, know of his well-earned reputation thanks to a painting exhibit, held at the Portrait Society Gallery of Contemporary Art showcasing Jordan’s work. Held in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, the show runs July 16 through Sept. 4. Titled “A Vivrant Thing,” named after rapper Q-Tip’s song of the same name, Jordan created a necessary rebuttal to society’s accepted norms and racist stereotypes that restrict and strangle Black lives. 

“My paintings are a refutation in the form of VIVRANT moments of bliss and possibilities,” Jordan said.

Jordan was born in Racine and counts such painters as John S. Sargent, Anders Zorn, William M. Chase and Joaquin Sorolla as major influences in his artistic growth. However, it was the artist of the Harlem Renaissance that directly spoke to his desire to pursue painting. 

He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Whitewater with a BA in Art, as well as his MS in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Art Education. With a growing body of work, ranging from portraiture to murals, Jordan is quickly becoming a highly sought-after artist. In June, he was recently featured in American Art Collector magazine. His painting, “The Butterfly Hunter,” was a 2020 finalist in the Portrait Society of America’s Art of the Portrait competition.

He has graced numerous covers of UMOJA Magazine and was commissioned by Madison College to create a mural for the Goodman South Campus.