CREATIVE PEAKS: Dimensional Dexterity

By on March 1, 2016

Hladky’s paintings-cum-sculptures pop to life with textures and layers.

Multiple views of Andrew Hladky’s ‘The Nite In The Nite And The Nite In The Daytime.’ (Photo: andrew hladky)

Multiple views of Andrew Hladky’s ‘The Nite In The Nite And The Nite In The Daytime.’ (Photo: andrew hladky)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – We are inundated with images. Commercial images are increasingly creeping into our personal space, disguised to look like the pictures we take to document our own lives. More and more, personal photographs shared on social media are tailored to market a persona or advertise a person, rather than just record a moment.

Artist Andrew Hladky, Teton Artlab’s artist in residence for March, explores how personal and commercial imagery merge and impact our view and interaction with the world with his paintings and sculptures.

This is the second year Artlab will host a different artist working in Jackson each month, said Travis Walker, executive director of Teton Artlab. Artlab has been growing a residency program since 2009.

Artists apply from around the world. Hladky’s sculptural-like paintings stood out from the other 250 applicants, Walker said. His use of paint to create texture and three-dimensional volume was something the selection panel hadn’t seen before.

Hladky uses toothpicks to scoop clumps of pure oil paint he dabs on plywood. He also squeezes paint straight from the tube, leaving it thick and coiled. The build-up of paint is central to his work. The paintings become three-dimensional.

The multiple dimensions cause different experiences for the viewer, Hladky said. If you look at it from one viewpoint, you might see the landscape the painting inspired. If you move away and look at it from another angle, the overall pictures breaks apart and you get lost in the build-up of paint and wood, he said. The straight-on view and the side view are in conflict with one another.

The conflict mirrors the clash between commercial and personal images. The way commercials try to use images and make them appear part of your life, Hladky uses paint to create tension between the image you can see, but also the materials that form it. He wants viewers to see the materials to understand the process and the labor in the images’ intricate construction.

He also uses tiny dots in the painting, meant to reference digital reproduction as well as pointillism, which is used for optical illusions.

His color palette is mainly comprised of primary colors, and black and white. He doesn’t often mix colors but prefers to apply paint as it comes out of the tube, which is a reference to CMYK, a color model used in printing.

He works dark-to-light. In his work, light is reflecting of something and scenes are illuminated in the darkness.

Hladky gradually developed his process, starting while studying at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, where he worked in almost the reverse of his current style. At the time, he used as little paint as possible, wiping away the paint with tissue paper to leave only blushes of color.

He started using the tip of his paintbrush to scratch out some of the paint. The scratches left marks and ridges. Gradually he started making the ridges higher and higher, and instead of taking away paint, he began to add.

Hladky worked from landscape photos taken by people he knew or scenes he saw in real life.

He fully developed his current process while working on his master’s degree at the Wimbledon School of Art and started incorporating commercial images into his work as well. “The imagery is all things I find personally significant,” Hladky explained.

He takes images from places like travel brochures and blends them with his own personal photographs to create composite landscapes with multiple horizons and sunsets. Once your eye finds one horizon, it sees another above it.

While in Jackson, Hladky hopes to finish a painting he’s already started. His paintings can take months to complete.

The current painting he’s working on is about 2.5 feet high and about 1.5 feet wide with a paint build-up of about six inches. He also hopes to start some new work, including sculptures. His sculptures are almost opposite of his paintings. At first glance, they appear one-dimensional, but as you walk around them you can see the materials and images emerge from the hollows and caves of the work. PJH

View Andrew Hladky’s work at an open studio, scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m., March 25 at Teton Artlab.

About Kelsey Dayton

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