HEARNE PARDEE is a painter based in New York and Northern California. Educated at Yale University, he was influenced by the teachings of Josef Albers; he also spent a year in Yale's 5-Year BA Program, doing ethnobotanical research and making paintings and drawings in the South Pacific. He studied at the New York Studio School, where he absorbed the approach of Hans Hofmann, which he began to apply to paintings made on site in New York City. Later on, he realized he shared the impulse of the Situationists, to wander and create psychogeographies. He received his MFA from Columbia University, where he studied with art historian Meyer Schapiro and did research on Romanesque sculpture.
Pardee has continued to work on-site in oils and acrylics, going on to combine and edit his works in the studio using colored paper. Influenced by Alfred Stieglitz's emphasis on the local, he has moved from the scenic landscapes of Maine and the West to the everyday landscapes near his home in Davis, California. His Situationist wanderings have increasingly been confined by a running track in that neighborhood. He continues to travel to the Pacific, producing more works in New Caledonia that document the transformations of the village he first visited in the 1960s, and teaching in the Yale-NUS College in Singapore. This ethnographic approach has combined with a developing interest in the visual field, inspired by Alva Noe's inquiries into visual perception as active construction, considering the field not as a camera viewfinder but as an all-encompassing space. This has encouraged his use of devices like the Bezold effect to divide the virtual plane of a painting.
Pardee has exhibited at the Bowery Gallery in New York City since 1980; he has shown more recently at Adler&Co. in San Francisco, Alex Bult Gallery in Sacramento, the Weigand Gallery in Belmont, and at various venues within the University of California.
Statement: Painting and Place
Of rhythm is image
Of image is knowing
Of knowing there is a construct.
- Charles Olson
My recent paintings are about home - literally, in that they deal with the stuff of houses, schools and yards, and figuratively, in that they return to early sources of personal inspiration - the pasted color papers of the Josef Albers color course (which was my first art class) and the "total space" of Hans Hofmann (which I studied at the New York Studio School).
Home, what’s closest to us, resides in the details of windows, doors and driveways, and particularly in the personal responses they provoke. Work from observation offers a way to record these responses, which vary from day to day.
Composing with images on the studio wall is to reflect on what they “know”, to construct a public face for these more intimate visions. Framing, selecting, is the basis of our construction. Within the frame, the field of color provides the ground of our experience - visual, in the way one color meets and interacts with its neighbors, and psychological, in the way colors provide an intimate connection to memories and unconscious associations.
If my representation of places partakes of the symbolic order of language and history, it's also grounded in the back and forth of direct observation, a preverbal set of responses set in the context of physical contact and bodily connections. Images next to one another generate meaning by contiguity, a metonymic chain. Desire slips from one image to the next, assuming the form of the overall field, whose space is continually enhanced.
My earlier large compositions of multiple images have collapsed inward, as I made use of the Bezold Effect to create a second plane layered within the one made on site; I view this undifferentiated image as representing the parts of the visual field I don’t attend to, which nonetheless supply spatial structure and color. They add to the psychological density of the image. I’ve been using video to extend my documentation of the visual field; it supplies material for drawings.