An unabashedly beautiful, yet befuddling and provocative work of art can attract the largest of crowds. Even without being fully aware of an artwork’s profundity, people can be drawn to the mysterious and complex; provided that what they initially see on the surface of the canvas pleases their eyes. Notwithstanding the artist’s intentions, as some artists are the business of “making art complicated solely for shock value, the medium – as long as it “looks profound” – can be regarded as the actual message and essence of the work.
In short, people can easily think highly of an abstract work of art, believing it to possess some unfathomable and significant meaning, just because it lacks the literalness we would otherwise perceive.Pablo Picasso once said, “Art is a lie that reveals the truth.” Sometimes, the “art” itself – the elements that one can attribute beauty to like vivid colors, enormity of size, and meticulousness of process – without reference to any truth, is what leads people to believe that a work of art is as meaningful and consequential as it seems.
Some artists like Jackie Holland Berkley, can deliver both the visual appeal and truthful meaning any good work of art must contain. Her art is simply a stylized expression of her most private, philosophical, and provocative thoughts. There is no pretense in her work – her symbolism, color palette, use of lines and strokes and general imagery are all deliberate and sometimes, even calculated. Jackie states in an interview:
"I am in the midst of creating a visual dialogue of abstracted and primal figurative paintings. These paintings are narrative and convey symbolic keys to moments in life. The energy and application of the surface is important as I build multiple layers of rich pigmented oil and I feel that it is important to be spontaneous and raw. I try to allow the images to reveal themselves to me as much as possible while I push to abstract line, color and form. In this way I feel that I am remaining truthful and honest to the artistic impulse and the process of painting always remains a joyful discovery each time I approach the canvas”.
If art can be understood through a spectrum that ranges from the most straightforward and realistic to the most elusive and abstract, one can argue that Jackie’s work can be plotted anywhere in this framework. From pattern-filled renditions of landscapes to ambiguous representations of what seem to be human beings, her work is simply filled with beauty and meaning, left for the viewer to discover, untangle, and interpret. There is no “lie” in her work simply because if you try to unravel and derive any meaning, you will find it consistency with that you see on the surface and what you find “beneath it”.
On October 12, Jackie will be exhibiting at the gallery and might possibly paint live. During our Second Fridays event, you’ll have the chance to engage her about her work. We assure you, her repertoire of inspirations, technical training, creative experiences, and personal learning is as intriguing and wonderfully alluring as her work.
Jackie received her Bachelor of Fine arts in Painting and Art Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. She went on to teach art in the elementary public school system before pursuing a full time career as an artist. Over the years, she has received numerous awards and exhibited in galleries and museums across the country. Her work can be found in many notable private and public collections including Disney Corporation, Exxon Corporation, Universal Studios, Federal express, Larson Juhl, Inc, and the Ritz Carlton Corporation.
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