Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Tom Harte

Tom Harte, originally uploaded by Bromirski.

I was at World Cup a couple weeks ago and saw that the Dennis Matthews paintings have been replaced by the work of an artist named Tom Harte. The stuff at World Cup is kind of all over the place - he's got a mother and child, a vase of flowers, something completely abstract, some stylized drawings - and all more than a little amateurish looking except for one piece in particular which struck me as something I could imagine seeing at Zach Feuer's. It was a smallish portrait head of a woman with one cyclops-like eye and a rainbow-ray halo.

Less than a week later I was flipping through ADA Gallery's 12 by 12 racks and saw more Tom Harte portraits, very lovely and sweet. They're wonderful. These seem to be portraits of specific people, as opposed to Cyclopic Madonnas, and are real treasures. Don't they say that when you are looking at someone or something you really like your pupils dilate*? The woman in the drawing above must really love Tom Harte, her eyes are radiating.

Harte has left his initials and the completion date at the earrings of the portrait above but in this one he writes the woman's name, half at each lobe, and in this one he includes a little picture of a horse and cart over one eye and a fish over the other. Those things hard to see or notice, sorry, but they're hard to notice in "real life" too. Here's the final one I got a picture of.

I don't know anything about Tom Harte or his history/education, but I'm thinking he's a bit of an outsider artist. Some of the work is dated as far back as 1994 ( like the piece above) and his pricing makes no sense. The small drawings I mention seeing at World Cup are $100 but the nice Cyclops painting is only $50, and all his 12 x 12 works-on-paper at ADA are also $50. Whatever the case, these portraits are very good.

*I just looked it up - it's called pupillometrics.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great write-up on Tom Harte. I put together the Twelve by Twelve show at ADA and Tom is a dear friend and greatly overlooked artist in Richmond. You might have seen him, he hangs out at World Cup alot and rides his bike all over town collecting things from city trash cans. He's an older guy with a big white beard.

Doug Utley

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