Harold Garde

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Harold Garde, "Sightings: Calm Waters," 2008, Acrylic strappo on paper
Harold Garde, "Sightings: Calm Waters," 2008, Acrylic strappo on paper
Harold Garde, "Evening Sky," 2008, Acrylic strappo on paper, 8 x 10 in

I have an abstract expressionist background. It was the most excitingly new development in art when I was a young painter. Much of that training remains. I am interested in what paint can do, making marks that expressively respond to my thoughts and actions. Now, although I rarely choose to allow the non-figurative (the ‘abstract’ of “abstract expressionism”) to remain as the final work. From this first non-figurative stage I will continue working until I find an image that becomes an identifiable subject. When I have decided on this image, then comes the careful exploring and developing needed to finalize each work, each with its own unique integrity.

Although I enjoyed my experiences with sophisticated techniques and equipment, I now want the simplest, the most direct, the most basic. I choose to work in acrylics because of the easy application when painting on paper or canvas. For more recent print-making I have developed and taught my dry image transfer “strappo” technique. I relish the effects I can create with the use of simple tools, acrylic paints and glass plates.

There are themes that recur in my work and often re-emerge as current challenges. Although an individual work must be a unique statement, I welcome a subject that invites a multitude of solutions. When that occurs, and I am concerned with a series, there is a helpful direction as I reach for a solution. A new and separate version can be an answer to the puzzle that is every painting. Looking for a new solution challenges and keeps me energized. The accumulation that results from these explorations can present me or viewers with a rewarding overview.

Over the years I have used as subjects the images of chairs, single and in groups. I have a pinnacle series, a series with still life references. There are some series have figures and faces, puppeteers and puppets. A group of recent work related to the “T” shape of the kimono. Such subjects, suitable for a series, attract me when they are generic, ones that are familiar, readily recognized, capable of being rendered with many variations. Whether they are presented subtly or boldly, small or large, fragile or monumental, I want my works to be visually exciting, capable of engaging the eye, the emotions and stimulating the mind of the viewer.

Harold Garde began his career in New York and moved to Belfast over twenty-five years ago.  An ingenious artist and dedicated teacher, in invented a technique called “strappo,” a method of dry acrylic transfer that has gained wide popularity.  He paints with a master’s assurance and economy, evoking place and mood with a few brushstrokes: here, the gentle brown fog of morning before coffee. Garde has exhibited throughout Maine; he has had solo shows at CMCA and at the Farnsworth Art Museum. The Museum of Florida Art organized a major traveling retrospective in 2009.  This year, in honor of his 90th birthday, he had a solo exhibition at the University of Wyoming Art Museum, and he was Art Collector Maine’s Artist of the Month. He is represented by Courthouse Gallery in Ellsworth.

Harold Garde, "Sightings: Calm Waters," 2008, Acrylic strappo on paper 12 months ago
Harold Garde, "Evening Sky," 2008, Acrylic strappo on paper, 8 x 10 in 12 months ago
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