DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt

2015/02/06

COLOR exhibition opens Feb 13, 2015

Filed under: My Events: Exhibitions — Tags: , , , , , , , — fred @ 07:32

COLOR

A collection of Fred Hatt’s colorful figurative drawings is included in COLOR, opening Friday, February 13, at Figureworks Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here is Figureworks’ show description:

COLOR is part II of WITHOUT/COLOR, a two-part exhibition featuring six artists. Three artists, Meridith McNeal, Alexander Ney, and Joanne Scott, have executed work void of color. Three artists, Howard Eisman, Fred Hatt, and Arlene Morris, have used a palette rich in color for their work.

Part I [still on view through this weekend]
Meridith McNeal, Alexander Ney, Joanne Scott
January 9 – February 8, 2015
Reception: Friday evening, January 9, 6-9PM

Part II [opens next Friday]
Howard Eisman, Fred Hatt, Arlene Morris
February 13 – March 15, 2015
Reception: Friday evening, February 13, 6-9PM

The initial concept for these consecutive exhibitions was to explore the impact of color, and lack thereof, in an environment. Figureworks, an intimate gallery, quickly embraces whatever is placed within it and though there have been nearly 100 exhibits in this space, what has transpired from this installation is far more powerful than what was envisioned.

The first of this two-part series are works without color. Meridith McNeal has created a series of watercolors entitled Liberty Clouded. The Statue of Liberty has been shrouded in fog and rain, addressing the anguish of false accusation and the gross failure of the American judicial system. Joanne Scott has been figure drawing from life for over 50 years. Her delicate and beautifully rendered pencil drawings of female forms in repose blur the lines as to whether her subjects are relaxing, sleeping or perhaps deceased. An oversized pair of Alexander Ney’s lovely, white terra-cotta ravens, ominously riddled with patterned holes and intense expressions, guard the work with its sculptural presence.

What makes this particular exhibition so powerful is that it coincidentally opens as the country is in great unrest. This exhibition was designed around space and color, not any political or social agenda, yet these three artists possess such purpose and strength in their imagery that a collective message clearly addresses our current climate and serenely eliminates a color barrier while doing it.

The exhibition of the next three artist’s work will be installed in February and the introduction of color and content will inevitably evoke uniquely unexpected responses.

Figureworks is located at 168 North 6th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY 11211, one block from the Bedford Avenue “L” train. The gallery is open to the public Saturday and Sunday from 1-6 PM and is dedicated to exhibiting contemporary and 20th century fine art of the human form.

For more information please call 718-486-7021 or visit Figureworks online atwww.figureworks.com

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2014/06/06

The Winter Past

Red and White, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Red and White, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

We live in a world of instantaneous sharing, a constant present where photos go up on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram the minute they’re taken, where events are live streamed and live tweeted, where instant pundits make comments on what’s happening right now, with tongue in cheek, or, all too often, foot in mouth. In the analog era, photographs and commentary were never about the right now. There was always enough delay built into the process that at best they were about the freshly recalled past.

I really like having a delay. Art needs time to ripen inside the artist before it is shared. I am always drawing upon my archive, finishing work years after it was begun, finding fresh gems that have lain buried for a while.

For those of us in the Northeastern U. S., the winter of 2013-14 was more than usually harsh. Heavy snowfall was followed by frigid temperatures that turned the accumulation into rock-hard ice, which was layered over by more snow, and so on, for three solid months. Heavy weather conditions often inspire me photographically, and this past winter was no different. But had I shared these shots of my arctic muse at the time, they would simply have reinforced the viewers’ ongoing misery. Now that we are safely into the season of sunshine and green growth we can look back at images of winter with an appreciation born of detachment.

This kind of detachment, this waiting to ripen, this separation between impulse and response, is vital to art. Let us not lose it in the roaring noise of the current.

Blowing Snow, 2013, photo by Fred Hatt

Blowing Snow, 2013, photo by Fred Hatt

Driving Snow, 2013, photo by Fred Hatt

Driving Snow, 2013, photo by Fred Hatt

Headlamps, 2013, photo by Fred Hatt

Headlamps, 2013, photo by Fred Hatt

Throughout the months of January and February, the crosswalk near my home was blocked by a huge pile of plowed-up snow, melted a bit, refrozen and enlarged by cumulative precipitation. I passed it every day. Like Monet’s haystacks, it was a shapeless pile of matter that revealed the mercurial qualities of light.

Snow Pile Variations, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Snow Pile Variations, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Salt Stains, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Salt Stains, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Twilight Tree, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Twilight Tree, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Snow is a great special effect for nocturnal photography, as it reflects and magnifies every kind of light. Dark pavement swallows a lot of the color, but white snow makes all the varied hues of night sing harmony.

Night Plow, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Night Plow, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Glisten, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Glisten, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Today's Specials, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Today’s Specials, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Being covered or partially buried makes sculptural abstractions of everyday objects.

Buried Bike Variations, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Buried Bike Variations, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

KGJW, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

KGJW, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Vacant Lot, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Vacant Lot, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Snow adds nature’s chaos to the designed and built environment, mountain ranges among the towers and boxes of glass.

Lincoln Center Mounds, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Lincoln Center Mounds, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Snow Mound, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Snow Mound, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

White snow makes an ideal screen for dramatic shadows to be projected.

Pole and Shaft of Light, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Pole and Shaft of Light, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Stripes, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Stripes, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Ice Road, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Ice Road, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

At night and twilight, the colors can be downright psychedelic. These are straight photos – no color manipulation or hypersaturation, very close to the effects I saw with my own eyes.

Mountains, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Mountains, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Path of Gold, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Path of Gold, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Spacer, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Spacer, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

By the beginning of March, nothing was left but filthy remnants, tattered scraps, the diminishing cores of what had recently seemed mighty glaciers.

The End of Winter, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

The End of Winter, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Spring arrived as crisp clear sunlight, last year’s foliage stripped and bleached, the ground saturated by snowmelt, ready for new life to burst forth.

Prospect Park, Early Spring, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

Prospect Park, Early Spring, 2014, photo by Fred Hatt

2013/12/09

Vowels

Barefoot, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Barefoot, 2013, by Fred Hatt

This post is an experiment. Some of my recent abstract watercolors, landscape sketches, and doodles have been randomly interspersed between the lines of Arthur Rimbaud’s synesthetic 1872 sonnet “Voyelles”. The original French poem and English translation by Oliver Bernard were copied from this site (where the fourteen-line sonnet is followed by a four-line “envoi” which is not included here below or in most versions of this poem I could find online). Oliver Bernard’s version is a prose translation, striving for the clearest expression of the sense of the original while sacrificing meter and musicality. If this version is too flat for you, check out Canadian poet Christian Bök’s fascinating version of “Voyelles”, translated five different ways.

These paintings were not inspired by this poem, and they have been sequenced randomly to avoid any specific reference to the colors or images mentioned in Rimbaud’s verses. When I draw or paint abstractly, I disengage my mind as much as possible from discursive thought and allow subconscious impulses to express themselves in the movement of the brush and the liquid medium. Imagery never drives the painting – any images are projections of the imagination, like the forms seen in Rorschach blots. I am trying to allow impulses of movement to arise from below the surface of awareness, as in my practice of Authentic Movement, described in this post. Perhaps this way of going fishing in the unconscious has something in common with the methods of a proto-surrealist poet like Rimbaud. Perhaps some accidental resonances may arise from the interleaving of sketches and lines of verse.  If not, please enjoy my humble doodles and Rimbaud’s delirious words separately!

Extinct Animals, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Extinct Animals, 2013, by Fred Hatt

A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu: voyelles,

A Black, E white, I red, U green, O blue: vowels,

Pastries, 201e, by Fred Hatt

Pastries, 201e, by Fred Hatt

Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes:

I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:

Ego,m 2013, by Fred Hatt

Ego,m 2013, by Fred Hatt

A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes

A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies

fredhatt-2013-autumn-wind

Autumn Wind, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Which buzz around cruel smells,

Plant Spirit, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Plant Spirit, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Golfes d’ombre ; E, candeur des vapeurs et des tentes,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,

Path of Light, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Path of Light, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d’ombelles;

Lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;

Pink Flowering Tree, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Pink Flowering Tree, 2013, by Fred Hatt

I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles

I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips

Electrical Storm, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Electrical Storm, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes;

In anger or in the raptures of penitence;

Land Forms, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Land Forms, 2013, by Fred Hatt

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,

Aromatic Tree, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Aromatic Tree, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Paix des pâtis semés d’animaux, paix des rides

The peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows

Mane, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Mane, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Que l’alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux;

Which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

Green and Blue, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Green and Blue, 2013, by Fred Hatt

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,

Coral, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Coral, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Silence traversés des Mondes et des Anges:

Silences crossed by Worlds and by Angels:

Bosom, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Bosom, 2013, by Fred Hatt

— O l’Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux!

O the Omega, the violet ray of Her Eyes!

Tracks, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Tracks, 2013, by Fred Hatt

I recently discovered the work of the comics artist Julian Peters. One of his specialites is illustrating poetry, including work by Poe, Keats and Eliot. He has a really beautiful comic of Rimbaud’s “Le Bateau Ivre”/”The Drunken Boat” – click on the appropriate title to see it in either English or French.

Color pieces in my post are watercolor paintings except “Green and Blue”, which is drawn with aquarelle crayons and blended with water. Black and white pieces are drawn with Tombow brush markers. “Mane” and “Tracks” are 11″ x 14″ (28 x 35.6 cm), “Ego” is 8.5″ x 11″ (21.6 x 28 cm), and all others are 5.5″ x 8.5″ (14 x 21.6 cm).

2013/07/26

Surface Tension

Curled Back, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Curled Back, 2013, by Fred Hatt

On the scale of galaxies and bodies, the universe embodies the elegant equations of Einstein and Newton, but at the subatomic scale, it’s all quantum weirdness, a foamy chaos of particles popping in and out of existence. Processes of evolution have generated the great panoply of Gaian life, but to the individual creature it’s just an ongoing struggle to survive and thrive. A human life viewed in retrospect by a biographer can have the structural inevitability of an epic novel, but that same life lived day-by-day may be experienced as a jumble of more-or-less random encounters and issues.

I aspire to reflect this dichotomy of scale in my drawings: on the big scale, elegant form, while on the small scale, chaos. From a distance, I would like my drawings to appear realistic, even classical, while a closer approach reveals an underlying turbulence of colors and markings. I avoid blending and smoothing, as I feel the energy of the marks captures something of the living energy of my subjects. Vivid hues blend in the eye to give the impression of subtly variegated tones.

Curled Back (detail), 2013, by Fred Hatt

Curled Back (detail), 2013, by Fred Hatt

This scribbly way of rendering values and volumes takes some time, but a relatively limited ten- or twenty-minute sketch shows it in its roughest and perhaps clearest form. When I am working this way, I generally try to do so right from the start of sketching, not to draw in a more formal way and then add a layer of chaos as a veneer. The drawing holds together because it’s craziness all the way down.

Sketch in Primaries, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Sketch in Primaries, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Rough Torso, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Rough Torso, 2013, by Fred Hatt

In the early stages of drawing, value (lightness/darkness) is the most important consideration in choosing a color to draw with, while hue is a secondary concern. As the drawing develops and the values from shadow to highlight becomes well established, the relative lightness of additional marks has a diminished effect, and color becomes the primary reason to choose one crayon over another.

Seated Side, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Seated Side, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Seated Back, 2013, by Fred Hatt

The following drawings are mostly longer, more developed pieces made using this technique of building a larger order out of small passages of chaos.

Curly Hair, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Curly Hair, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Human skin is never a flat surface color that can be matched the way a decorator might mix pigments to replicate a paint swatch. Skin is translucent, exhibiting properties of specular reflection and subsurface light scattering. Its coloration comes not only from melanin and other pigments inside the skin, but from the colors of blood and muscle and connective tissue showing through it. It has constant subtle variations. Figurative artists have all sorts of esoteric methods and theories for capturing skin tones. The one that works best for me is additive color mixing with scribbly strokes.

Poet, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Poet, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Green Blue Purple, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Green Blue Purple, 2013, by Fred Hatt

The great magic of figurative art is to capture the sense of aliveness of the subject. By expressing energy in the vigorous markings at the smaller scale of the drawing, I hope to convey the feeling that this person I am showing you is alive, is full of breath and blood and might potentially move or speak at any moment. I put as much of my own energy as possible into the work of drawing, and I want to preserve the record of that kinetic energy in the markings that compose the image.

Sculptor, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Sculptor, 2013, by Fred Hatt 

Body Artist, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Body Artist, 2013, by Fred Hatt

The model expresses her or his energy through the body, the pose and expression. The process of seeing and drawing is necessarily a process of abstraction, as this living being is translated into perceptions of angles and curves, contours and volumes. The magic of capturing aliveness depends on not letting the subtler aspects of the subject get lost in that translation. I try to achieve it by approaching everything as energy. Life is energy, the body is energy, perception is energy, mark-making is energy, a completed drawing is energy.  Energy is the aspect that unifies every stage of the process.

Ballerina, 2013, by Fred Hatt

If, while drawing, even one thing you see or do is dead, the drawing dies. All of it, every object, every mark, every thought, every moment, is alive. In this way, the drawing is full of life.

Rodinesque, 2013, by Fred Hatt

Rodinesque, 2013, by Fred Hatt

All of these drawings are roughly 19 1/2? x 25 1/2? (50 cm x 65 cm), aquarelle crayon on gray or black paper. “Curled Back” is done in a combination of aquarelle crayon and gouache.

2013/04/17

Buds and Blossoms

Filed under: Photography: The Seasons — Tags: , , , , , — fred @ 19:15
First Green, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

First Green, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

To celebrate the full arrival of Spring that we’re feeling this week here in New York City, let’s look at buds and blossoms, the botanical embodiment of the surging life force, the butts and bosoms of the plant world.

These photos were taken over more than a decade, on dates ranging from March 21 through May 22, and they’re ordered here by day of the year, no matter the year, so the sequence should give a sense of the process of spring as it unfolds over the weeks – how the first wee shoots appear on the gray bare branches, hints of the green eruption to come, and how the pinks and whites and yellows of early spring prepare the way for the bold, brash colors of the late spring.

As usual, I’m sharing way too many pictures – I love them so much! – so I’ll shut up and let them speak for themselves.

First Yellow, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

First Yellow, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt 

Yellow Willow, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

Yellow Willow, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

Blossoms Under a Metal Roof, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Night Blooms, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Night Blooms, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Night Sprout, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt

Night Sprout, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt

Springtime Sunset, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt

Springtime Sunset, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt

Blossom in the Wind, 2011, photo by Fred Hatt

Sakura, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Sakura, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Renewal, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Renewal, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt 

Statue in Spring, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

Statue in Spring, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt 

Grand Opening, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Grand Opening, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt 

Ready, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Ready, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt  

Fresh, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Fresh, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt 

Spring Sun, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Spring Sun, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt 

From the Coccoon, 2007, photo by Fred Hatt

From the Coccoon, 2007, photo by Fred Hatt 

Pink, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

Pink, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt 

Red, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

Red, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt 

Spring Fountain, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt

Spring Fountain, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt  

Burgeoning Bough, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Burgeoning Bough, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt  

Unfurling, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt

Unfurling, 2006, photo by Fred Hatt  

Tulips and Taxis, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

Tulips and Taxis, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt 

Pink Tree, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

Pink Tree, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt  

Pink Arms, 2007, photo by Fred Hatt

Pink Arms, 2007, photo by Fred Hatt  

Restoration, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt

Restoration, 2005, photo by Fred Hatt 

Red Shoots, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt

Red Shoots, 2012, photo by Fred Hatt 

Etched in Green, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

Etched in Green, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt 

Over the Fence, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

Over the Fence, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt   

Young Leaves, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt

Young Leaves, 2010, photo by Fred Hatt 

Bees' Target, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt

Bees’ Target, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt 

Burning Bush, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt

Burning Bush, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt   

Flowers in Late Afternoon, 2009, photo by Fred Hatt

Flowers in Late Afternoon, 2009, photo by Fred Hatt 

Sunset Green, 2009, photo by Fred Hatt

Sunset Green, 2009, photo by Fred Hatt  

Spring Green and Brick Red, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt

Spring Green and Brick Red, 2003, photo by Fred Hatt  

Blossom with Droplets, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

Blossom with Droplets, 2001, photo by Fred Hatt

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