We first covered Caitlin Hackett’s painstakingly detailed ball-point pen and watercolor paintings in Hi-Fructose Vol. 17, where she told us that her empathy for the natural world is the driving force behind her beautiful, yet morbid subject matter. Surrounded by her nature books and collections of bones in jars, from an early age, she has carried what she describes as “a profound sense of tragedy” for the destruction of nature.
For her new series, debuting this Friday at Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia, Caitlin Hackett expands on the recurring themes in her art, which has often featured endangered species, extinction, pollution, mutation, death, and the fragile relationship between humans and animals. Titled, “For Your Bones We Wait”, named after the a chapel of bones in Portugal called Capella Dos Ossos which inspired her, Hackett’s works use ambigrams to explore “the dichotomy of life and death”.
All of her pieces feature images that can be read in more than one direction, where the image reveals a new message or meaning when upside down or turn over to form an entirely new image. “Overall these new pieces are about being haunted. It’s a study of ghosts, and ghosts yet to be, capturing a feeling of the fragility and brevity of life, and a sense of loss,” she explains in her show statement.
“My work alludes to the boundaries that separate humans from animals both physically and metaphysically, and the way in which these boundaries are warped by science, mythology, and religion alike. Like the gods of so many myths Humanity has warped the world into our own image, and it is this often frightening image I hope to reflect in my work.”