Harmony Hammond Talk

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Harmony's talk seemed to flow very well and I think everything tied in together quite well. For example, interestingly enough, she spoke about when she was an undergraduate student, her painting instructors did not at all discuss content in painting, but instead only discussed technique and formal aspects of her painting. During this period, ironically, she was painting "hermaphrodites" or figural subject matter. After she was done with school it seemed like, maybe due or not due to her instruction, she completely moved away from any sort of representational work and focused only on highly abstract work. Her first post-graduate work, the smooth paintings that she intended to "one up the boys" in New York, to me seemed completely devoid of meaning and totally derivative. It was as if she was making this work because it was "in style" and that was what she was exposed to. Her work, I think reached it's most interesting point when she started to get involved with A.I.R. and merged traditional women's arts and crafts with painting. The bags were some of my favorite pieces because they were the most forward-looking, non-formal pieces I think she has created.

Her newer work, while definitely aesthetically interesting, I found to be somewhat devoid of meaning and less accessible, especially from the perspective of third wave feminism. While I thought the grommet pieces and the latest paintings had a completely industrial, sort of blue-collar feel, she failed to point that out, and her comparisons with these being similar to skin struck me as completely off-mark. While Harmony's talk was interesting, her art to me felt very 2nd wave, as she never seemed to think outside of the gallery setting or the more formal aspects of the art world. Her art to me seems inaccessible and inexplainable to women of poverty and color, with the exception of her work from the early 70s.

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I had a similar reaction to Harmony's newer works, definitely less accessible as far as content is concerned. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they are completely devoid of meaning, but definitely lack an accessible deep concept. When viewing her work before her talk I did find a connection between materials and skin/bodies. I did not however, see why or to what purpose the skin reference served until I heard her speak. I also think that the reason I saw skin is due in part to my current artistic explorations and I think that she needs to work on a more direct way of using the skin/body concept if it is an important aspect of her work.

-Bryn

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This page contains a single entry by katzx120 published on January 31, 2013 10:06 AM.

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