“The individual in our society is important. What the individual has to say, and express is important.” Harold Garde
Throughout his lifetime as an artist, Harold Garde has depicted the human figure as a central part of his work. In the expression of the human face, in the interaction of human beings in figures, forms and in pictorial narrative have been a reoccurring fascination in the work of Garde.
Harold Garde seems to be reflecting now on the human condition more intently and more specifically through enlarging, looking closer at mere facial expressions that seem to be universal. He has described these new works as they are us. As if to say I am you and you are me and there is not they, but they are us. Thus, he is removing the line between them and us. Also begging the question: Can we not see ourselves in everyone?
As a student of observing and understanding the human race, he has done so throughout his life as a well-read man emersed in history, news, novels, great films throughout history and to present, theater and music and most importantly throughout his life in his relationships. His work then and now has been involved in studying this question of what makes us human.
In these most recent and profound works, his digging deep expresses a closer look at mere human facial expressions in eyes, nose, facial lines, and depth of what lies behind the physical expressions that reveals human emotion. For me, these get to the essence of human expression that are universal as the artists looks within and looks out. Perhaps the artist sees himself in everyone as we all can.
The Mills Gallery exhibition will include new recent large works in the They Are Us series as well as strappo works of the human figure in faces as well as selected non-objective strappo works that reflect the artist’s on-going experimentation and stretching further of the strappo technique of his own design.
In the new works, if the viewer really looks further one can see a sense of soul seeking as the artist penetrates deeper into understanding the human experience. He need not spell it out in more detail than he does in the lines, the drips, the rhythm of how the colors co-mingle to create what we may see as a facial expression distorted, reinvented, and reimaged. It is the way the elements are floating or moving within the picture plane that may throw the viewer off just enough to be disturbed or delighted ample to feel the expression.
At 98 years old, the artist Harold Garde has something to teach us in the sense of removing the divide between people. He seeks to remind of us of something in his illumination of people in these works. The people, they are us.
– Jennifer McInnes Coolidge, Lead Curator, Mills Gallery