By: Coralie Claeysen-Gleyzon, Curator/Director Jai Gallery
Entering Harold Garde’s home studio is a beautiful intimate
experience….First you are taken by the light… a gorgeous balmy
morning light bathes the room through a skylight and invades
your spirits, bringing you a sense of renewal, peacefulness, and
the feeling of being prepared for happy things to come. Then,
you are greeted by the most amiable man, in wide-open arms,
with such a wonderful smile and quick sharp eyes that reflect an
admirable soul. Harold Garde is secretly a master.
One of the few Maine master painters; Harold’s art, categorized
as abstract expressionism is a journey through pure raw emotion,
bold in shapes and colors and governed by the artist’s hand.
Figures and faces emerge, in profile or full front, often round,
some distorted, vulnerable, sometimes strong.
Conceptually his pieces involving figures are as powerful as
Lacanian concepts of visual theory. His puppet series as well as
his “Mirror” piece also entitled “Self-Portrait as an Observer” is a
magnificent example of this. The artist is present and duplicates/
splits himself into two beings. He is at once, in the space of the
same painting, present as a solid and quiet dark shadow, and as
a semi-transparent fleeting, airy and almost intangible observer,
surrounded by a crowd of others, insignificant but necessary to
the piece to reinforce the importance of the two alter-egos. The
artist observes himself. The artist thinks and reflects.
Harold Garde thinks. A lot. He likes word play, and many of his
pieces are titled with creative puns. Knowledgeable by nature,
by experience too, with a life well-lived through seven decades
of prolifically painting and representing life’s emotions in form,
color and shapes, Garde has built an incredibly rich portfolio.
In his studio are countless finished pieces on canvas of large
sizes, works on paper bearing a series of his signature “strappos”
(a technique he created consisting of painting on glass in reverse
and sealing the paint with gesso, which, once dried, is peeled off
the glass, peeling the paint with it, and has hardened to form a
flexible membrane-like material bearing the finished painting);
several paintings which he is currently working on also adorn
the walls. His prolific career is there, should be seen, celebrated,
Harold Garde’s work is now showing at Jai Gallery, 47 E Robinson
St, Downtown Orlando, FL 32803