Robert Haemmerling & Ted Fontaine

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Ted Fontaine has always been interested in the transformed commercial/industrial environment as a means to discover an aesthetic beyond the face value ugliness that a strip mall might provide. Lately, he has been using man made objects that are are placed in human habitats as a starting point for te growth of any particular painting. He begins with automobiles, utility poles, roads, cars, houses and other objects and although the imagery is a starting point the process of painting quickly supercedes the original image. The formal elements soon take over in the process. The paintings are both about paint and about the image and what dominates is discovered at the end of the painting process. Sometimes the formal elements win and completely take over, and other times the fragments of the original idea will hold their place in the composition.

The paintings are not carefully planned from beginning to end, but the result of numerous studio sessions that may or may not be successful in ways that allow Fontaine to accept what is revealed on the surface. He will often scrape away the surface and repaint. Most paintings are the result of multiple layers of paint leaving some of each layer visible. It is his intention to allow the painting to come forward without too much previsualization.

Robert Haemmerling’s artist statement reads: “My works consist of many different images of people compiled into one unique figure.. The found objects and materials I use help me to be open to the idea of accident and chance. Adding and removing materials throughout the process also allows the piece to emerge as something new and unexpected. It is through this process that I have learned to trust my intuition. If I am lucky, I will be surprised. And if I am surprised, I stay interested. For several years my work has focused on the human figure as well as the occasional dog or two. With each figure I feel I am attempting to create something that has a universal feel to it. A familiar turn of the head or a hand gesture can be the catalyst that starts it all off. As I move forward in the process the individual figures will take on a much more specific role, complete with names and histories. Taking discarded pieces of wood, metal and cloth out of their original context and combining them in new ways brings out the essence of their previous lives. It is the combination of these found materials that is compelling, because it is open to so many levels of interpretation. I feel I am making order out of chaos, and never sure about how each piece will turn out. The evolution my artwork goes through is what I find surprising and exciting.”