Glenn Hirsch in a nutshell?
I’m a life-long San Franciscan who’s just moved to the hipster paradise of Asheville, North Carolina, where my wife and colleague Pamela Lanza and I will continue our 20-year fine art teaching career this fall for various venues, including the Asheville Art Museum.
Your artistic singularity: what are the major themes you pursue in your work?
The work seeks an intersection between contemporary painting practice, archaeological sources, multi-cultural themes and the parallel between modern and ancient civilizations in their penchant for self-inflicted environmental disaster.
“Abstractions in a Lost Tongue” are inspired by Mayan writing — glyphs that have been deciphered by etymologists. Among other things, the texts speak about cyclical time in a kind of ancient software code that the Maya painted on temple walls to keep the Universe running smoothly.
This series is not about what the glyphs meant as much as what they evoke: a phantasmagoria of luxurious line, masked glaze, sponged light and perhaps a warning that any civilization can come to its own demise through ecologically induced disaster, war and over-population.
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Your encounter with art: how did you first get interested in your medium, and what draws you to it?
I’ve always been into science-fiction. My surrealist paintings explore an ancient sci-fi future where ganglions and circuits cross-fertilize, where carbon chains and silicon wafers have finally wed. The power of God led by blind instinct.
The characters in these paintings dance, struggle, bluff and threat. They aren’t human, yet their gestures radiate a kind of “intelligence” somewhere between seduction and menace. This is an other-worldly re-mix where DNA zips and un-zips, where things mutate while we sleep.
Which techniques do you use?
I start with mixed media daydreams — things I imagine I see in the web of lines, puddles and smears which start each piece. I then use conscious skills to stage these unconscious associations with illusions of glowing color and pools of light. Watercolor, ink, graphite, and acrylic — diaphanous transparency, gooey encrusted impasto, fragmented paper collage.
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An artist or an artwork that particularly inspires you?
The work is informed by the art of Wolfgang Paalen, Richard Pousette-Dart, and the early work of Barnett Newman, Adolph Gottlieb, and Jackson Pollock as they used Native imagery as a catalyst for unconscious association and spiritual renewal through the primitive.
More about Glenn Hirsch: http://www.glennhirsch.com