Opening Reception: Thursday, September 19 from 6-8 p.m.
Herb Jackson began his series Veronica's Veils in 1980 as a way
to create a new space in which he could explore the
enigmatical nature of the moment when a painting attains a life
of its own. 33 years and 223 paintings later, the exhibition Veils:
new paintings from the artists ongoing exploration, continues the
Artist's quest to create his own language of space.
Herb Jackson's paintings are pigment mixed with pumice, built
up thin layer upon thin layer which he scrapes off and smoothes
as the medium is being applied. Shapes, marks and topography
come and go as the Artist engages the paint; gouging, scraping
and excavating each consecutive stratum with whatever tool is dictated be it knife, fingernail or even
dental tool. For Jackson, the work is a process not dissimilar to experiencing a long life, slowly evolving
and revealing itself, much in the same way that our environment changes over time.
Noted art historian, critic and author Richard Schiff says of the Artist's work: "look for a parallel in nature
and you will think not only of sky, air and water but also of ice and even crystalline rock. Jackson's
brilliant hues tend to pull the space of his veils in and out, as if the entire painting were pulsing or
breathing." While Jackson's work references the beauty found in nature, there is no sentimentality; a
nod to myth and mystery is balanced with a very physical presence, creating contemplative work with
the undying rumble of the tectonic plates.
"To require that an image be a bearer of content, (that) it must be recognizable is to suggest that there
is no form to the unknowable,” states the Artist. “My personal journey (through art) confirms that it is not
necessary to rob life of its mystery in order to understand it”. To understand the psychological dynamic
of Herb Jackson's obsession with paint, we need look no further than the canvases in his current body of
work. Says the artist of these paintings, "the canvas (begins) to exert more influence over the direction I
must take, and at that point, it is often unclear where I stop and the painting begins". Yet Jackson’s
works engage and excite; there is a dynamic force to his compositions and a haunting musicality to his
themes that rewards repeated viewings; the work is not static.
The Veronica's Veils series can be compared to Motherwell's "Eulogies" in their constant theme and
format; one may recall the gestural, calligraphic nature of Franz Klein and the materiality of the
surfaces created by Antoni Tàpies, yet the experience of viewing a work by Herb Jackson is singular. The
frequently jagged forms and broken surfaces somehow juxtapose quiet shape and flow to speak of
relationship rather than destruction or death.
Herb Jackson has had over 150 one-person exhibitions, among them the first exhibition of Modern Art in
the former Soviet Union. His work is in the permanent collections of over 125 museums, including the
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the British Museum, London and the Smithsonian Museum
of American Art, Washington, DC.
For additional information visit the Claire Oliver Gallery website.