- Acrylic on shaped panel
- 20" x 32"
"For the last 10 years, I’ve been striving to present my work as objects, as opposed to pictures of things. A better description would be that I’m striving to present both simultaneously. The Timelines series differs in that the paintings as “objects” are accomplished by illusionistic means, rather than actual physical three dimensional constructions.
While the work continues in the vein of wall sculpture, the new element in this series is an exploration of gradients. Gradients remind me, in a way, of time lapse photography. The juxtaposition of different values, while speaking of relationships and context, also refer to the passing of time, as in a color bleaching out over time. So, each color value articulates themselves as unique, in space and time. That is, they cannot exist in the same moment, but are separate and equally important.
Similarly, when I think of my work over the last forty years, I can visualize it as time lapse photography. The many different series, styles, genres, and mediums have all been unique and important individually, but in a sense, all parts of one grand symphony."
- Howard Hersh
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Lives and works in San Francisco, CA
Geometric abstraction defines Howard Hersh’s process-based paintings, where image, surface and structure make one dynamic subject. The artist is self-taught and creates without a brush, opting instead to trowel, gouge and scrape acrylic paint atop wood panel assemblages. His resulting imagery activates shifting planes and platforms in a single composition, complicating two and three dimensional perception.
Over the breadth of Hersh’s decades’ long career, his practice has evolved toward concerns of sculpture. He’s known to prioritize woodworking and the framework of painting's support—collapsing image and form in the traditions of Constructivism and Minimalism—whereas earlier works plainly depict loose quadrangles in encaustic, rendered on a contained image ground as painting. Recently, however, the work leans into straight-forward illusionism. Shaped and color-blocked panels are affixed together, forming gradients that allude to depth. The paintings appear like folded paper objects in various states of unfurling, conducting space unto themselves. For Hersh, the motif of gradation assumes a metaphor with his life in the studio and temporality more broadly, producing distinct bodies of work in succession. As well, gradation evokes social themes: of difference, context, and still ultimately, interdependency.