When There Was Another Me – Harold Garde
May 17 – August 31, 2019
When There Was Another Me features an assortment of forceful and stimulating works by Harold Garde. The artist, who splits his time between Florida and Maine, has exhibited widely throughout the United States. Garde, now in his 96th year, continues to produce works of great energy, intensity, and relevance.
While Garde has created a vast quantity of paintings and many unique series throughout his life’s work—from chairs to kimonos to solely abstract compositions—this exhibition offers an extensive and focused look at recurrent subjects from throughout his career: figure and portraits. Within these works one sees the authority of Garde’s mark-making and his spirited use of color. The figurative pieces selected for this exhibition are emotionally complex, challenging, and unharnessed. At times they are humorous, confounding, and even unnerving. Above all, they convey conflicting states of mind as well as the complex nature of humanity—topics that are particularly relevant in contemporary art and society today.
Although the artist’s early exposure to Abstract Expressionism continues to infuse his paintings today, his ongoing exploration of portraiture and the figure conveys another significant facet of his enduring creative practice. The 35 works showcased at UMMA draw connections to early Expressionists, particularly German artists such as Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff. Both artists were among the founders in 1905 of the formidable artist group Die Brücke (The Bridge). This group sought to create a new form of artistic expression in which color and subject matter were liberated from all traditional approaches. The tenets of Expressionism were revived and expanded upon in the 1970s and 1980s by Neo-Expressionist artists (referred to as the Transavanguardia by its Italian practitioners), including Garde, who looked back to the works of earlier German Expressionist painters. Garde’s energetic and gestural handling of figures also draws connections to works by notable Neo-Expressionists such as Mimmo Paladino and Francesco Clemente. This commanding selection of expressionistic works celebrate Harold Garde’s passionate and unique point of view as well as his prolific and rigorous studio practice.
Harold Garde (American, born 1923)
Two Figures Standing, 1993
Acrylic on canvas
Courtesy of the artist and ArtSuite Gallery, New York