Colloquium: Hammersley Variations: The Many Modes of Frederick Hammersley
From abstract painting and documentary photography to computer drawing, Frederick Hammersley’s artistic career encompassed a remarkable range of styles and media. This colloquium will focus on several of his key modes of art making and the subtle relationships among them. Presenters are James Glisson, Leslie Jones, David Pagel, Lawrence Rinder, and Joseph Traugott; Elaine Yau moderates.
James Glisson writes: “For all that repetition threads throughout Hammersley’s art, it is never mechanical or predetermined. My presentation will explore the grey space between spontaneity and control that he so productively mined for over sixty years.” Glisson cocurated (with Alan Phenix) the exhibition Frederick Hammersley: To Paint Without Thinking at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens in 2017. He is currently Interim Virginia Steele Scott Chief Curator of American Art at the Huntington.
Leslie Jones, curator of prints and drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, will explore Hammersley’s innovative computer drawings made in 1969, and discuss how they relate to his overall practice and to contemporary art of the day.
David Pagel, Los Angeles Times art critic and professor of art history and theory at Claremont Graduate University, will consider what he calls “the efficiency and mystery of Hammersley’s organic abstractions, whose compositions and titles play off one another poetically.”
Joseph Traugott, independent scholar and former curator at the New Mexico Museum of Art, will discuss how Hammersley developed his modernist perspective by continually shifting between methodical scientific approaches and freewheeling abstraction based on artistic intuition, switching paradigms to revitalize his art making.
BAMPFA Director and Chief Curator Lawrence Rinder, who organized the exhibition, will frame the program and offer an overview of Hammersley’s work.
Elaine Yau, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at BAMPFA, moderates.