B. 1945 Bill Jensen received his MFA in 1970. The following year he moved to New York, where his large-scale abstract paintings involved images of spirals and ellipses on surfaces made of a mixture of synthetic varnish, hand-ground pigments, oil, and sand. However, a toxic reaction to his materials forced him to abandon painting for a year; upon resuming a full-time studio practice he conceived the intimately scaled abstractions for which he is well known. Jensen has been preoccupied with an eclectic mix of stylistic predecessors that include Albert Pinkham Ryder, Marsden Hartley, Arthur B. Dove, and Francisco Goya.
Jensen had his first show at the Fishbach Gallery in New York (1981), and the same year was included in the Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. He has been a part of Five Painters in New York (1984), the 40th Biennial of Contemporary American Painting (1987), at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and his work was the subject of a retrospective organized by the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC (1987). In 1986 he received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Jensen was one of the first artists invited by Bill Goldston to print at ULAE. Since 1983, he has explored all avenues of intaglio technique.