It’s Day 316 and I struggled today with art in general. I started to panic a little yesterday about including all the artists I wanted to before the project is over…which is an impossible thing so therefore my anxiety is a little irrelevant. I started, restarted, and altered my painting and artists today until I came up with my piece. I really liked the outcome and am thinking that the slight panic was a sort of gift. I’ll explain more below. For now, join me in honoring Grace Hartigan today.
Grace Hartigan, a second-generation Abstract Expressionist linked historically to artists of the first, such as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, who forged a new form of painting based on bold gesture and experimental brushwork. Within the movement, she was respected for her commitment and thick skin, and her striking paintings reflect this attitude.
Though she built her early career upon complete abstraction, in 1952 Hartigan began
incorporating recognizable motifs and characters from various sources into her art, and moved
fluidly between figuration and abstraction throughout her long career. For this reason, her work is often considered to be a precursor to Pop art.
Hartigan’s best-known works combine the abstraction of her early work with recognizable images from everyday life or motifs from art history, particularly from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. The distinction between abstraction and figuration is often blurred by her experimental brushwork and lack of shading.
Hartigan was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1922. As a child, she was close to her grandmother and her aunt, both of whom encouraged her creativity with stories and folktales. Hartigan was later involved with her high school drama program and wanted to be an actress. She married at 17 to Robert Jachens because, she claimed, he was the first boy to read poetry to her. Wanting to escape their narrow upbringing, the couple headed for Alaska to homestead.
They got as far as Los Angeles before they ran out of money and Hartigan found out
she was pregnant with her only child, Jeffrey. She took a few painting classes before they returned to New Jersey. When Robert was drafted to fight in World War II, Hartigan lived with his parents and got a job as a mechanical draughtsman to support herself and her son. She was sent to the Newark College of Engineering for on-the-job training. It was during this period, after she and her husband separated, that a friend introduced her to the works of Henri Matisse and she began taking art courses from a local artist named Isaac Lane Muse.
Hartigan is admired for having, as one critic noted, “resolved the problem that doomed many artists of the New York School: where to go from art in the 1950s.” Since she was able to reconcile abstraction with her usage of realism and iconography, she influenced many future artists, including Neo-Expressionists like David Salle and Julian Schnabel. She made the Maryland Institute College of Art a nationally prominent program and mentored hundreds of students during her tenure there.
GRACE HARTIGAN QUOTES
“Well, it is not very comforting when you are going through it. But after you have gone through it, won the facility after years of hard work, and are able to say what you feel and think, then it is a sweet triumph.”
“A line is like a lasso. You throw it over your head and you grab something. It’s like writing. You can read a line in painting almost the way
you can read a word. Drawing is really like writing poetry. Color itself is not like a poem. It diffuses from the very specific. It’s changeable – its images change.”
“Now as before it is the vulgar and the vital and the possibility of its transformation into the beautiful which continues to challenge and fascinate me.”
“Or perhaps the subject of my art is like the definition of humor – emotional pain remembered in tranquility.”
Biography is from www.theartstory.com.
I hope you enjoy my piece today. Earlier I was saying that the anxiety was somewhat of a gift. My painting wouldn’t have turned out the way it did without it. The concept of the piece wouldn’t have happened either. The two figures beside me are my inner voices in my head and the main “me” is content with blocking them out. A huge lesson I am still learning on a daily basis. So in the end this piece was very therapeutic! I also wanted to incorporate the artist’s abstract and figurative styles. I will see you tomorrow on Day 317!