Off and on, I make small religious paintings in my garage. Scenes from myths, fairy or tall tales, actual events, places, loosely rendered in depictive space, titled with truisms, proverbs or metaphors, they are aspirational, anticipatory, illusory, and fictive images that beg interpretation when juxtaposed against flat featureless panels that are simply reminders of a literal here and now.
These little synthesis machines – at once inert and interactive – are visual koans, meant to puzzle, test, caution, and irritate. They may also serve as functionless decorations in grand palaces.
My maternal grandfather, John Hardin, died at 98 running after the last free bus of the day in downtown Portland, Oregon. Originally named after him (as a way to heal family discord) I’d never used the name until now.
I was born and mostly raised in Pullman, Washington, a town originally founded as “Three Forks” until the city council changed its name to entice the designer of railroad sleeper cars to locate a factory there. George Pullman, flattered but unconvinced, sent the town $50 instead.
From first grade through my bachelor’s degree, I lived there, the eldest son of English professors (experts in fiction) who occasionally called me Shamus.
After college I worked for a world’s fair, a museum and studied a year at an art school (all of which changed their names or disappeared after I left). I went on to get a master’s and to have numerous jobs. I am pleased to say I have always worked for, with, and among artists.
I now live with an artist (who prefers not to be named) and a retired racing Greyhound (originally named Halo Mirage, but who now answers to Isabella Greyhound) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York.