Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Patrick Heron at Hackett-Freedman

Drawing Space in Color
JANUARY 10 - MARCH 01, 2008

"For a very long time now," Patrick Heron wrote in 1962, "I have realized that my overriding interest is COLOR. Color is both the subject and the means, the form and the content, the image and the meaning in my painting today."

Color is certainly on view in the gallery. Color that is vibrant, alive and glowing without any pretense of subject matter or post-modern theory or angst. Kenneth Baker of the SF Chronicle thinks that his work is parochial compared to today’s art. I would beg to differ. What art is he referring to – the flatly painted stick cartoons and manga-inspired figures that populate so many popular galleries and web pages? The splats and tats of certain trendy mailing lists? The endless loops of video with their abrasive contemporary music? Heron is no Anslem Kiefer; rather his inspirations are Matisse and Bonnard. For him, “Decorative is the height of art.” Patrick Heron believed that a work of art’s greatness lies in direct proportion to its aesthetic qualities. He shunned symbolism and the literary in art, and celebrated the decorative; indeed, he often said, “I love images and hate symbols.” For Heron, color acted as “both the subject and the means; the form and the content; the image and the meaning.”

Contemporary painting has learned to despise the word “decorative” and it’s our loss. Go and see the show, bask in the vibrant colors and come out recharged. That’s no small feat in these dark and painful times.




Anonymous said...

Hurrah. Your review is excellent. I love this artist.

Nancy Ewart said...

Thank you (blushes)....

Anonymous said...

I wish I could see this show. I am coming to SF but in March and it looks like it will be down. Maybe the gallery could pull out a few pieces for me...


Nancy Ewart said...

If you can't see the show in person, check out the excellent images on the Hackett- Friedman website. You might also call them in advance - I've always found them very nice.