by Sara Lee Burd

Nashville International Airport through February 28

Known primarily as a sculptor, Buddy Jackson has expanded his artistic practice over the past few years to include painting and photography. His latest installation, on view now at the Nashville International Airport, reveals the artist’s next step in his evolving artistic identity.

Jackson’s four wooden sculptures challenge viewers’ inclination to make sense of the blocks of color that form the portraits of four different women. Hattie Dreams Vermeer began as a photograph, which the artist reduced to individual units or “bytes.” Each one-inch wooden square is perfectly cut and colored to correspond to the light and tones of the original photograph. While each piece stands on its own, when combined the image only partially comes together. In fact, the viewer becomes even more aware of the parts and must struggle to comprehend the portrait.

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Hattie Dreams Vermeer, 2015, Wood, acrylic paint, 60″ x 36″ x 6″

Gestalt theory suggests that humans grasp the visual character of things by broadly summarizing and innately combining the perceived parts into a complete form. By foregrounding the pieces and spaces in between, Jackson reminds us that perfection is an illusion, and flawlessness is subjective. Through modulated planes, exposed pixels, and abstracted photography, Jackson’s art breaks apart the notion of perfection in reality. In fact, he reminds us that reality isn’t what it appears to be—it is something we perceive.

Buddy Jackson’s Reality Bytes is on exhibit at Nashville International Airport through February 28. For more information visit

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