ARTisSpectrum Vol. 31, May 2014 - page 115

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 31 |
belief in abstract art’s ability to engage the “inner child” of every viewer is central to
Paul Hartel
’s images. That engagement
is achieved through an approach based on experimentation and what the artist calls “musicality.” While Hartel is inspired by
such artists as de Kooning and Kandinsky, his paintings and drawings are thoroughly original, taking a free-wheeling approach
that challenges any preconceptions. His works balance a firmly grounded artistic technique with a feeling of improvisation. “I
strive to capture an element of spontaneity in my work,” he says, “that I believe gives a piece a purity and veracity that may be
lost with detailed planning and hesitation.”
Working in the moment, the artist lets his sharp eye for composition and texture work organically. His paintings are fueled by
an instinctive approach to materials, methods and subjects. Using oils, acrylics and charcoal on canvas and paper, the artist
notes that he will employ “virtually any method to apply paint
to the canvas” — including scraping, dripping and finger
painting. The resulting mix of textures and rhythms gives his
work a powerful presence, with layers of drips and strong,
bold lines creating a sense of depth and space. Hartel’s
handling of color also contributes to the strong physicality
and dynamism of his images. Bright and dark shades jostle
against each other with a kaleidoscopic intensity, keeping the
viewer’s eye in constant motion.
There is a similar freedom from the boundaries between
abstraction and realism in these paintings. Human figures
or street scenes will emerge from patterns of pure color, and
conjure up a world of constantly shifting possibilities that
open a space in which each viewer can reach his or her own
conclusion. “If a piece can create a discussion or conversation,”
he says, “then I believe it has succeeded.”
Paul in his Studio
Mitch’s Ghosts Oil & Charcoal on Canvas 24” x 18”
Paul Hartel
Amy Charcoal on Paper 17” x 14”
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