by Jim Hartsen
Like in all of Jim’s exquisite prints, the visual impact is outstanding and electrifying, jarring a viewer’s expectations of reality by taking one into an enchanting and mystical world of wonder and breathtaking beauty. The powerful saturated colors arouse the viewer’s emotions and captivate one’s subconscious, resulting in seeing the image as something transcending the ordinary, and the liberation of one’s vision.
Fully aware of Ralph Gibson’s apt quotation, namely, “Reading things into a photograph is the prerogative of both the artist and the photographer,” I will attempt to convey what I saw in this stunning print. My immediate first thought was that I was looking at a surrealistic graphic representation of the cerebral cortex of the brain, where both hemispheres, instead of being joined by a large bundle of interconnecting fibers, were in fact being separated by a forceful stream of liquid that emptied violently into the base of the skull. Then immediately breaking through stereotyped perception, I was excitedly aware that I was clearly envisaging a large, enraged animal plunging into the water, displaying an inflamed, flared nostril and a wide open eye, both of which were clear evidence of a possible threat, or of some delectable prey in its vicinity. The left eye and nostril were closed, possibly to minimize the crushing entry into the water. Such was the force of the impact, a gigantic spout of water was displaced and sent like a rocket vertically upwards, whilst the spray from the force of the entry, obliterated all of the detail of the beast’s giant head.The vibrant colors above the animal’s partially visible nasal structure, are fitting indications of its strength and intensity. I hope that every observer will take the time to visualize for themselves what they see in this stunning and dramatic image. (#H1038).
Peter A. Marr
by Jim Hartsen
Jim’s exhibition is a dazzling tour de force of brilliant, spellbinding images, that have a spectacular rhythm of lines, shapes, forms, textures and values, together with extraordinary saturated colors, giving an organic coalition of every visual element possible. These exceptional prints are not emotionally neutral, the result of the complete absence of constricted awareness, freedom from a sense of self, and the reawakening of a creative and intuitive ability that has enhanced the author’s visionary skills. Here, I am reminded of a quote from Diane Arbus, namely, “My favorite is to go where I’ve never been,” a saying that is exemplified by these stellar images, and making my selection of just two of them to comment further on, very difficult, for they are all memorable.
I hope that every observer who has the good fortune to view Jim’s prints, will be cognizant of the fact that it is not what you look at, but what you see that is so important. In H1041 there is a regeneration of a sense of wonder, that meaningful art is both mind changing and challenges the prejudices of conventional thought. The color palette is expressively awesome, with an exceptional range of deep, saturated hues, that totally integrate with all of the other visual features. I am very aware of that I am looking through a stylistic network of perhaps a cracked paint surface that is outlined in black to form powerful interstices, through which there is a metal mesh covering , that reveals extraordinary fine texture and surface detail. The center of these grids have been peeled away to reveal the secrets beyond. Against the background of a dark dome that is silhouetted against the deep blue sky, one is keenly aware of a highlighted, irregularly shaped water expanse. In the latter are ghostly reflections of a city’s skyline, where skyscrapers that once towered above the landscape, are now reduced to irregular fingers of dripping paint. If that were not enough, there is spectacularly present a halo of fiery red, reminiscent of a sea of hot flowing magma, issuing from a volcanic caldera. I hope that other observers can add their own interpretations as to what they see in this truly creative and compelling image. (#H1041).
Peter A. Marr