| Statements and Quotes
About the Abstractions
by Allan Hart
| All Text © Copyright 2006 and
2011 by Brian Carl Hart
/ All Rights Reserved
My abstractions have been a window to the source of the Infinite for me since 1978.
They have been evidence to me that colours, shapes and forms are truly infinite.
Some people have called my abstractions "Cubist" paintings. This is an error. Original-
ly, my abstractions evolved out of weeks of intensive labor creating colour charts. From
the colour charts, my investigations went to canvas, naturally becoming paintings. Not
once did I think "Cubism" during this process nor at any time while creating the paint-
ings. The "Cubists" spoke of "destroying reality". I create realities, or rather, reveal
abstractions could be called "hard-edge paintings" if one chooses to call them that.
Many so-called "artists" in Taos have put their noses right up to the surface of my
abstract paintings and sworn that I use tape. They are wrong. My abstractions are
painted without tape, freehand, using two or three brushes, sometimes with a palette
knife. Over half a century of painting, I have developed techniques and disciplines of my
craft that are not taught in art schools. I like to do things the hard way because it is the
only way I learn. Nothing instilled with quality comes easy, and quality is what I strive
for. This tedious work is often painful, having developed a sore shoulder and arm be-
cause of the constant elevation and slow steady movement of hand, arm and shoulder.
While creating my abstractions, I often constantly turn the painting and work from all
sides, balancing the shapes, forms, and colours. These paintings are called "4-Way
Abstractions". Often, I change hands. In doing so, I not only use both sides of my brain,
but, I believe that I use what I call "circuitous thought", exercising my brain in a way that
academia does not teach.
Many people have told me: "I don't like (or "have never liked") abstract art, but your
abstractions are the first that I have ever liked." This tells me something.
"A Hart Brother"
One might accuse me of not being in a position to give an
'objective' opinion, let alone, an objective criticism of my
brother's work. If that be the case, then I say that there is little
objective criticism in the 'art rags' today, if any truly exists at
Allan's paintings do not call for any 'fluffy' Post-Modernist
pseudo-rhetorical mumbo-jumbo. Allan Hart has been paint-
ing for over thirty-years ( since he was seven year old ). His
paintings speak for themselves.
Allan's present choice to show just a few paintings in the real-
ist vein might suggest a more metaphysical predilection, but
one thing is for sure: his definite need to exercise his craft
and disciplined techniques with each new painting is tanta-
mount to his seriousness as an artist. I ask the observer to
accept the artist's oil sketches and studies as just that: exer-
cises and studies.
In the 1960's Allan's early surrealist works hung next to many
great artists: including Georgio de Chirico, Rene Magritte, Max
Ernst and Salvador Dali. Allan is also an accomplished por-
trait painter and what you see here is just a small taste of his
wide range and ability as an artist.
When Allan was a young struggling artist in his early twenties,
Ed Keinholtz was so impressed by one of his large surrealist
canvases that was hanging on a certain curator/collector's
wall, that he (Keinholtz ) exclaimed, when he was told who
had painted the picture: "You mean the kid on the swing?"
If I were pressed to categorize Allan as a painter, I would say that pigeonholing him
into a style or school would be an in- justice. If I were asked to grade his talent as a
painter on a quality ratio, I would be both objective and honest in saying, that next to
the Old Masters, both he and I know that he has half a lifetime of painting ahead of
him, but compared to the so-called 'Post- Modernist' painters of today, the latter
can't hold a brush next to Allan
All Text © Copyright 2006 and 2011
by Brian Carl Hart / All Rights Reserved
Allan Hart and his Paintings
"Every 'famous artist', every museum curator, every 'big' private collector, and
everybody else who has walked into my house over the past thirty years, has
walked right up to your painting and asked: 'Who painted this beautiful painting?'"
(Referring to "Man Leaving Is Man Arriving" #28 ) (a West Coast collector)
"You mean the kid on the swing?" (Ed Keinholtz)
"Allan, I've been sleeping with your painting for thirty years !" (a West Coast collector)
"Buy that painting !" (Sam Francis)
"Allan Hart is a great painter!" (David Hockney)
"Taos' biggest secret" (anonymous)
"This is a beautiful painting." (Earl Stroh, while viewing the Black Abstraction)
"Who the hell is Jonah Hrvat?!" (anonymous)
"Oh Allan, I love your painting ! Not you ! Your painting !" (anonymous)
"Allan, why don't you paint like that anymore? Those were your best paintings."
(a West Coast Collector)
response: "Because I am a different person now." (Allan Hart)
"Allan, I've never liked 'abstractions', but, your abstractions are the first I've
ever liked." (many people and some dogs)
"That's not acrylic !" (many so-called "artists")
"We don't know where he went." (anonymous)
"Are you an 'artist'?" (too many people)
"Where's your studio?" (anonymouses)
response: "The mice are trying to get in too !" (Jonah Hrvat)
"Allan Hart, for reasons of integrity and aesthetics, is the only artist to refuse to
exhibit with Agnes Martin." (Jonah Hrvat)
"Allan, you're the painter and I'm the draughtsman." (Brian C. Hart)
"The 'culture of pretension' has made the true artist obsolete." (Brian C. Hart)
"You're not ready for a 'Big Book'!" (Earl Stroh)
"You are not the best judge of your work." (Bruno Hrvatska)
"Allan Hart /Jonah Hrvat knows and is connected to the infinite source of creative energy
and ideas. He knows that he is a vessel through which the infinite can pass." (Raphaello
Statement (May, 2008)
I have been working on "Taos Vision" since January 1, 2008 and have finished two "2-Way Palette Knife Abstractions"
since then and have also been working on a figurative drawing/ painting for several weeks. The struggle with "Taos
Vision" is enormous. I have realized that this painting is definitely about my soul, my journey in life (present, future, and
past), and the present state of my total being (spiritual, mental, and physical). It feels very good to be expres- sing myself
and to be "erupting from my soul". I am becoming more of a recluse. There is not much out there that interests me in the
least, except for nature. Sometimes I think about going out the door of my studio and am immediately turned off by the
idea and often nauseated by the thought. I strongly feel that my best paintings have been created in the environment of
iso- lation and seclusion - seclusion of all others. I do go out. Every evening, i go for a walk (approximately two miles)
and only go into town for food, to wash my laundry, and to go to the library. That suffices. I have decided that the
purpose of me painting is to create images from my visions, dreams, my subconscious, and memory & imagination.
These are very unique, like no other in the history of western art. I also have the need to create figurative paintings, main-
taining the elements of good drawing within the painting, maintaining an equal balance be- tween drawing and painting.
(Is it a drawing or a painting, or both?) That is a challenge. I enjoy challenging myself and doing everything the hard way,
the most difficult way, because that is the only way I learn. Yesterday and today (17 & 18 May) I am having my monthly
"Studio Open- ing"( Sat., from 10am to 6pm, and Sun., 11am to 5pm). This is very brave and courageous for an eccentric
and reclusive person like me because this is a very personal and private place. Sometimes it is almost frightening to think
who might come in the door. I am sure that there are some people who may be frightened to even open the door, to think
who may be behind the door! We do create ourselves. Why not instill a little humor into this very serious "Studio
Opening"? Eh? It is only flesh &
Allan Hart / Jonah Hrvat
on "Contemporary Art"
We hear and read the term "Contemporary art" nearly every day. Most people who use the
term use it as a label for abstract art or just about anything placed or hung in a gallery of
"modern art" (There is another nondescript term!) - anything, from a bottle of piss to a shit
smear on a canvas (Julian Schambel). What a sham! So much for "contemporary art"!
The original meaning of the word contemporary was anything of or created in the present, or
present decade, or anyone alive today, as in "my contemporary". Now-a-days, "contempor-
ary" is a catch-all term and often a garbage truck for all kinds of refuse!
For me to define "contemporary" or "contemporary art", i would have to say that "contempor-
ary art" is anything created (or, often just found) today and placed in an art gallery or art
museum, regardless of the materials used, the subject matter, or the technique or style used
to execute the said object (And some of it should be hung up on a wall and used as target
practice!). Now, whether it is "art", or not, is a matter of serious debate.
I am quite sure that the term "contemporary art" is a 20th Century term, probably coined at the
turn of the last century. The new art created in Paris at the time appeared so unusual and
bizarre in comparison to the "traditional art" created at the time, that the new art had to be
called something else, just to separate it from what was normally accepted as "art".
Then, in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 1990s, the term "art" was redefined again and again, and the definition was broadened to
include just about anything. Anyone (Not really, you pretty much had to be selected as the next "art darling".) could hang up
their underwear (Clean or dirty, it really didn't matter.) in a gallery and call it "art" and people were dumbfounded, including the
person who purchased it. The person who created the work (or the person who found it) didn't even have to be an "artist", just
some "wannabe" ("Quick-and-Bake" Basquiat is a prime example here), charlatan, phony, or just a good salesman (Julian
Schambel is a prime exam- ple.). The person didn't even have to have any talent (Julian Schambel and "Quick- and- Bake"
Basquiat are good examples). Julian Schambel actually made the statement: "I am the greatest artist since Picasso!" He really
is deluded! Schambel never learned how to draw, let alone paint. He progressed from washing dishes in a restuarant to gluing
broken dishes onto large canvases and squishing and smearing paint around. How could he be an artist? Come on! Really, be
honest. Actually, Julian Schambel "couldn't draw his way out of a paper bag, let alone paint."(B.C.H.) He's a great film maker
and director, but, painter?
Ugh! Though I
have seen my paintings hanging next to the work of Picasso, I certainly do not claim to be as "great" as Picasso. Picasso's
oeuvre was vast and he was the most proliffic artist of the 20th Century. Picasso created some great paintings, many good
paintings, many bad paintings and the same goes for his drawings and sculptures. In fact, some of Picasso's paintings are
aweful and terrible, especially the paintings that were in the Guggenheim in New York in the 1980s, which were created during
the last decade of his life, in the late 1960s and ealy 70s. Some of my paintings and drawings are equal to, some surpass, and
some are worse than some drawngs and paintings by Picasso, as with all painters.
A good way to "make it rich" during the past five decades was to open up an "art gallery" and
hang and sell just about anything. I guess I "missed the boat" to be a charlatan. Oh well !
How I see it is that it is better to be a deep and "independent thinker" and original and unique
talent than to have "deep pockets"! Who cares (I do!) for real art? Just rake in the money. As
I see it, "it is better to be a poor rich soul than a rich poor soul" (A.H.) You definitely can quote
me on that. Did somebody else say that too?!
Some people may say that my ego is bigger than my talent, but, I think that they are just about equal. After over half a century, I should know what I am
talking or writing about, and I believe that I do. One thing is for sure and that is that I am saying and writing what nobody else is saying and writing
(Somebody has to do it!) and that I do have contempt for some so-called "contemp(t)orary art". I am sure that I am not alone in this matter. Both Hilton
Kramer and Robert Hughes would probably agree with me. They don't let the "crap" go by either, but, they are more gentlemanly in how they express
it. I am more direct, honest, and blunt in how I say it and certainly do not mince my words. Why should I? Bite my tongue, just to be "proper"? Forget
Allan Hart / Jonah Hrvat
All Text © Copyright 2006 and 2011 by Brian Carl Hart / All Rights Reserved
( written by Brian C. Hart in 1990 for an exhibit of Allan's paintings at S.B.
& Company, Cambridge, Mass.)
"I've been collecting art for over 40 years; I've been on the East Coast,
the West Coast, and everywhere in between. Where have you been? I've
never met an artist whose work is as varied as yours. Your oeuvre is vast !"
(an East Coast collector)
"While the so-called 'Post-Modernist' phonies, charlatans, and pseudo-artists were
duping the populace, the gallery owners, the collectors and museum curators, and
stuffing the art market with crap, Allan Hart was painting and ignoring the silly 'art
scene' and every 'band-wagon' that came along, disregarding the lure of fame and
fortune. Allan Hart's (also Jonah Hrvat's) paintings are unique." (Raffaello Modig)