Jack Hanley Gallery is pleased to present Halucina-tation Hall-Ucin-Ate hal-use-in-ation hal-luse-in-Ate, a solo exhibition with works by Karen Barbour.
The title of this exhibition is taken from writings from Barbour's father when he was 102 years old and experiencing frequent hallucinations. Barbour’s works are often very personal and incorporate imagery drawn from dreams, the imagination, childhood memories and family folklore. The artist is informed equally by visual art and architecture along with pattern, decoration, and illustrative techniques. Her works evoke a cinematic landscape populated by abstract forms that interact in complex relationships.
Speaking about her practice, Barbour says: “I have been working on most of these pieces for years, adding to them constantly. I write down thoughts and words – and things that I have read – in notebooks which I reference in the paintings. I have visions where images pop into my head on pretty much a daily basis, I constantly see stuff-- animals, houses, people, flower shapes, tree shapes, tower shapes and birds etc. that are moving like animations. If I sit down, my eyes start to make patterns and then pictures. If I look at the sky or the floor or a counter or tiles, the textures start to take shape and it’s very vivid and interesting to me. I immediately draw or paint these images because I tend to forget things very quickly and otherwise, they would disappear. The oil paintings too – they go through a lot of changes. The bigger ones pretty much started out as stacks of ‘parts’, to make a body or whatever, but over many years I would go back into them, continuously adding what was interesting to me at any given moment. It’s exciting to paint over something that already exists. This last year and a half I have started having more piercing visions and I discovered that I have temporal lobe seizures. Sitting with my 102-year-old father in his last years as he hallucinated and saw people and things on the ceiling and in the walls, feels parallel to what has been happening to me.”
Karen Barbour (b. 1956), lives and works in Inverness, CA. She received a BA at UC Davis and an MFA in Film from San Francisco’s Art Institute. Barbour has worked as an author and an illustrator, and over the past twenty years her work has been included in exhibitions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, among other places.