I visited Karen Hale Jacksons exhibition at Horizons art gallery on a quiet morning earlier this year. I had the gallery to myself and walked piece to piece taking in the show, looking back at my path behind occasionally seeing the work also as a collection and a progression. I came full circle and found myself at the front of the gallery again, “what’s with the birds?” I asked…
My question was met with a look that I was sure meant that the gallery assistant had no idea what I was talking about. “The three birds…. What’s that about?” again puzzled look, and as luck would have it Karen herself walked in the door just at that moment. Perfect! The artist! “Hi Karen you don’t know me, but what’s with the birds?”
Karen smiles at me and looks a little embarrassed as if I have have just blurted out something intimate. She goes on to explain that the birds that I found in every painting with even the smallest patch of sky where something she has been including in her work for a while now without anyone noticing and without really intending anyone to notice. The birds it turns out do have a special meaning but I will let the artist keep that to herself so you can ask her in person the next time you see her. This was the start of our friendship and what brought Karen Hale Jackson, her art and her secret birds to TT Art Space.
Artists leaving signatures in their artwork is a recurring theme in the art world. One of our favorite examples of this is that of Jan Van Eyck's The Arnolfini Portrait where the artist incorporates into the piece an ornate latin signature that translates to 'Jan Van Dyke was here 1434' a not so subtle application that has affected modern graffiti signatures.