Expanding Universe: Constructed Paintings by Howard Hersh
In Howard Hersh’s constructed paintings, on birch plywood panels affixed to unpainted basswood and poplar, he explores two complementary bodies of work, which he characterizes as “two means to an end.” Hersh:
“Dispositions of Structure (encaustic on panel) are paintings about structure: the fabric of the universe as we know it, from invisible forms of energy pulsing through every atom to visible natural phenomena. And beyond physical structures, these paintings tackle the societal, political and intellectual structures we all must navigate."
“Skin Deep (acrylic on birch and basswood) developed from an inquiry into the nature of painting itself. Specifically, I am questioning the notion that paintings exist as pictures of something-- illusions-- while sculptures exist on their own, as objects. Because I love making things as well as painting, I wanted to deconstruct painting and push this work closer to 'objecthood.' The basswood wall structures of 'Skin Deep' exert themselves as objects, encapsulating as well as supporting the paintings."
The results are objects of art straddling the 2D / 3D frontier, never quite settling into one or the other. His interplay of painted shapes and the engineered scaffolding (reminiscent of billboard and derrick structures) maintains a tension: being vs. becoming. As much deconstructed as constructed, the works seem suspended in time, yet implicitly open to change: four-dimensional, in a sense, like Cubist paintings, with their multiple views and perspectives: representations of the flux of time and self.