Available Light: The Everyday Landscape Paintings of Hearne Pardee

 Hearne Pardee, Evening, Acrylic and collage, 121/2"x19", 2017


I had a chance to speak with the painter Hearne Pardee who has a show on in the library at Central Booking in New York City's Lower East Side. The show continues until December 17th, 2017. 

Noah Becker: I’ve been doing a lot of research on Cézanne over the last 30 years since I graduated from Victoria College of Art. In particular I've studied the connection between cubism and Cézanne. Your work has that aspect to it and a whole world of experimentation as well. How did things start for you?

Hearne Pardee: I started out at Yale as an undergraduate I was involved in French poetry and wrote about color. 

Becker: What courses did you take?

Pardee: I took a course called “Color” - the Josef Albers color course at Yale.

Becker: And that’s where the influence and application of color squares started?

Pardee: Yes, so at this point I started pasting little squares of color without knowing very much about art at the time. 

Becker: How did you think about color at the time? 

Pardee: I began to see that painting is about color. I began to look at Matisse and Cézanne. So then I went to the New York Studio School because I was told that if you’re interested in Cézanne then go to the New York Studio School - that’s where I went for 4 years too. 

Garden Grid, acrylic collage on paper, 50"x38", 2016

Becker: What did you discover there?

Pardee: I ended up absorbing a lot of Hans Hoffman there. So I had Josef Albers on one hand at Yale and Hans Hoffman on the other at the New York Studio School. 

Becker: Then what happened with your painterly interests?

Pardee: Then I got really interested in painting about local America and the local American landscape that I felt hadn’t been fully explored. I went back to Alfred Steglitz and William Carlos Williams and about how America is seen as puritanical. 


Hearne Pardee, Open Field, 2017, 30”x30”, mixed media

Becker: Hmm, interesting. What other aspect of “the local” did you decide to embrace?

Pardee: I first looked for significant natural landscapes – tried the Southwest and Yosemite – but then found that the most significant places were things I saw every day. And as to using collage, I basically redrew the landscape and decided to use the colors I really wanted. I was interested in exploring the local and the way America doesn’t really deal with nature. So I embraced the natural world in this way.

Becker: In your series called “Everyday Light” they’re mundane and local scenes - almost hyper-local, which I love - and yes, the natural world. You have pencil drawing evident in sections of the compositions - which I think is quite original. Colorful flowers up against trees winding through space cut with abstract shapes. When did the landscape collages happen? 

Pardee: The landscape collage paintings really go back to 1980. Back then I did a painting that I had done outdoors and drew it over again on panel. And then just started pasting paper down while going back and forth from outdoors to studio painting. 

Hearne Pardee, Connecticut, oil on linen, 30"x42", 1999 

Becker: how long did this way of working continue? 

Pardee: Well it wasn’t until 2006 when I started taking this kind of thing seriously and doing larger paintings outside. 

Becker: Was this inspired by anything beyond your ambitions? 

Pardee: Yes, I really like the way Robert Adams, the photographer did certain things. He quoted Raul Coutard, the French cinematographer who worked with Godard who said “Daylight has an inhuman faculty for always being perfect.” So it’s the everyday light, that’s all we need - there’s something perfect about it. 

Becker: There are no human figures in your work - so in that way you are dealing with pure light and color.

Pardee: There are traces of figures in there but no actual people, just the evidence that people were there. WM

For further information on Hearne Pardee contact Jessica Robinson: jrobin8583@gmail.com


Noah Becker

Noah Becker shows his paintings internationally. A visual artist, saxophonist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine, Becker has also written freelance articles for many other major magazines. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has also written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010) viewable on Youtube. 

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