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  • Writer's pictureTrace Logan

Hartigan and Ataman Dance Together

I like quotes.

“Unlike those in other professions, artists cut the branch they are sitting on.” “When an artist presents a show, he backs it up with his life.”

The former is a quote by Kutlug Ataman and the latter is from Grace Hartigan.

Ataman is a 55-year-old filmmaker and contemporary artist from Turkey who has won awards in both the art and film spheres and whose work is in museum collections throughout the world. His work is avant-garde and frequently deals with unique and/or multiple perspectives and complex relationships (and the subsequent intensely emotional scenes which occur from such bonds.) Within the last few years his creative efforts have been shown in such diverse locations as Denver, New York, Los Angeles, Istanbul and Venice.

Hartigan, born almost 40 years earlier than Ataman, was an Abstract Expressionist painter from Newark, New Jersey who was deeply enmeshed in the NY art scene in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Her large scale paintings of the 1950’s were filled with powerful strokes of vibrant colors typical of her art movement although later she began to experiment with more figurative elements and different mediums including silkscreen and collage. Hartigan also taught art from the mid-1960’s until shortly before her death. Her artwork has most recently been shown in the Women of Abstract Expressionism exhibition of 2016.

Separately each quote is good. They are succinct and easy to remember with that little bite of wisdom I really want from a quote. And while I don’t have the context for Ataman’s quote Hartigan’s was one sentence of a long, frustrated tirade of a letter she wrote to an art critic who gave a bad review of her artwork in some NYC publication. But the real beauty of the quotet (like a couplet only with quotes) is when they are read and considered together because they are saying the same thing in vastly different ways. Ataman’s is fanciful, Hartigan’s dramatic and while her quote is specific, his is general and where his is plural, hers is singular and where the outcome of Ataman’s quote is implied in Hartigan’s it is explicit. The Yin and Yang in art quotes.
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