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December 04, 2009

Seductive Surfaces

Seductive Surfaces

Callie Hirsch’s works on paper are succulent in nature, vibrant in colors and tell of richly hidden tales of naught. They create a sensation of lusting after a fruit in all its ripeness, nectar dripping in color, indeed tempting to touch. Found to be both alluring and intriguing, the viewer is meant to be inspired.

Since the early 1990’s, Hirsch has been primarily focused on creating sea life and has, in addition, created an extensive series of tree paintings which combine the earth and sea, the natural and the emotional, the harmonic and the dissonant, with a high degree of controlled randomness. Her intentions are purely amorphous in nature. No preliminary sketches or plans are made; the painting is created in a purely unconscious manner, made up of all that captivated the artist in her lifetime.

Hirsch is deeply devoted to the physical act of painting: that creative period when she focuses exclusively on the subtle interaction of brush, hand, paint, and paper. In planning and executing Seductive Surfaces, Hirsch first selects her palette and devises a color range in which to navigate through. She focuses intensely on mark making, depicting pathways and untold journeys of a wanderer. Her love of nature and plant life is then transcribed through the intricate web of dots encountered on each painting.

By allowing her mood, induced by music, to control the wanderings, each painting has a unique message and journey to it. The process also introduces a degree of chance and the unexpected into her works. Her musical influences include works of Tom Waits, Spoon, amongst a host of other funky tunes. When she was in her late teens, Hirsch would paint in her basement listening to such music as the soundtrack to Hair and Black Magic Woman by Santana, on a cassette player. Her surroundings consisted of taxidermy animals her uncle sent the family and found animals stored in formaldehyde jars.

The tradition of dot making in painting is indelibly linked to the Aboriginal artists of Australia. They used this technique to create story telling of their dreams, maps to find watering holes, and life stories. Callie is deeply thankful for exposure to their work as well as being influenced by such notable painters as Klee, Miro, Kidinsky, and the painter and architect, Hundertwasser. He was thought of as Austria's only hippie. Both admiring and wanting to take their ideas in a new direction, she uses this inspiration in following her own pathways and journeys.

Hirsch’s love of iridescence and working on such a deeply rich surface as black paper have taken her down new roads from her previous work in oil on canvas. She favors imperfect lines produced when painting free hand, rejects the use of rulers and tape, and has no studio assistants.

Born in North Carolina on an air force base in 1964, Hirsch graduated from Parsons School of Design for photography and received her MA from New York University, while working there full-time in the Telecommunications department. She lives and works in New York City.