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LAMENT + BLOOM: Hold Sacred, Part II

collaborative exhibition

May 3rd - June 2nd, 2024

Opening Reception: First Friday, May 3rd from 5-9pm

Arch Enemy Arts presents LAMENT + BLOOM, the second installment of HOLD SACRED, a multi-part collaborative series by local artists Darla Jackson and Paul Romano. As with Part I of HOLD SACRED, Part II: LAMENT + BLOOM is a collection of sculptures, installations, and paintings inspired by “the idea of what is sacred” while navigating the emotional aftermath of loss. Together, Jackson and Romano ask what thoughts, objects, concepts and relationships do they hold dear; what do they cherish and sanctify while “growing through grief?”


“Part I, DELUGE + TEMPEST was to exemplify the chaos we felt [after a series of losses], but Part II captures the next stages for us emotionally…After the storm, there is growth and progress, but nothing is linear. Sadness creeps into otherwise joyful moments…Learning how to process such profound emotions forces you to look at things a bit differently.” - Darla Jackson


There are clear, connective threads running through the installation, and sitting with the work is like discerning what is hidden from what is visible in the face of the one you love. Immaculately rendered objects and paintings become a cohesive meditation on sight and seeing, connecting and looking, cracking and cleansing. Perhaps, at the end of the day, living through grief means donning a mask. And only those closest to us can see through the cracks. 


Appropriately, when asked about specific symbols and meanings within the work, both artists prefer to keep the most personal meanings close to the chest. “I don’t ever want people to feel specific emotions or get a single message from my work. I have my own ideas and meanings, but they are irrelevant to the audiences’. I don’t think art is about answers or specific messages but more about being open, sparking dialogue and thought…When folks get other readings, for me, that marks the work as bigger than itself.” - Paul Romano. 


Darla Jackson is a sculptor and educator, who obtained a BFA in Sculpture from Moore College of Art in 2003. In the years since, her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the country. Paul Romano is a multidisciplinary artist and designer, who has developed myriad cover-to-cover album artwork for bands internationally–most notably the Grammy Award-winning act, Mastodon. Romano studied at the University of the Arts and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Most recently, both artists were appointed coveted positions as design artists for the US Mint. The pair resides in Philadelphia, PA.

LAMENT + BLOOM will be on view from May 3rd - June 2nd, 2024
Sold works will begin to
ship the week starting June 9th unless other rush arrangements have been made.

Payment plan options are available on most works.

All items marked with a red dot have been sold. 

acrylic side


engraved panel side

Paul Romano

I will tend the fire until everything burns, 2024
Acrylic on canvas (left image), acrylic on engraved panel (right image), poplar

68"h x 46"w x 12"d (at base)
$18,500 USD

Darla Jackson & Paul Romano

I remember who you are, 2024
Hydrocal, toner transfer
9”h X 5.5”w X 5.5”d
$333 USD each

Darla Jackson

Ad astra, 2024
Clay, ribbon
24"h x 20"w x 2"d
$1000 USD

Ad astra is based on a drawing that my daughter gave to me in 2021. The drawing featured us wearing matching hoodies with this design on them. The birds are joined by a series of red ribbons which represent love you feel for someone whether they are near or far. My original intent for this piece was that two people who have a connection of some kind would buy this piece together and cut the physical bond that ties them to each take home.

side angle


quarter view

Darla Jackson

Cursebreaker, 2024


21"h x 14"w x 8"d
$5000 USD

This horse skull is displayed atop a post to echo a nithing pole. 

 The Icelandic níðstöng (“nithing pole” or sometimes called a scorn pole) is a curse dating back to the Viking Age.

- from Atlas Obscura

Darla Jackson

Lay your sorrows down to rest, 2024
Clay, glaze, wire
36"h x 36"w x 4"d (full installation)

"Lay your sorrows down to rest" is a collection of natural items turned fonts, or the vessels meant to hold holy water. Each piece is meant to be a resting place for your sorrows or heavy thoughts, which you can leave from feeling a little lighter.

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