In a world where it's hard to be different, Galerie Hertz has made
a lucky discovery. The fantastical paintings of Jody Harmon of
Louisville are clearly his own independent brand of surrealism. He
has a personal and consistent symbolism that appears to be about the
condition of living in general and specifically about the artists
One symbol that appears frequently is a red scarf or banner. When
used alone, it tends to read as a decorative image. When attached to
a standard with a running figure at the top, it becomes more
significant, a symbol of aspirations.
Some of Harmon's paintings are seemingly simple to understand.
shows two long-robed, priest-like figures holding the cords of two
extravagantly fantastic flying/swimming creatures. The scene is set
in a landscape with remarkable three-dimensional mountains formed by
paint combined with sand. The flat surfaces are meticulously stroked.
Detail is fine. The effect is bejeweled. Given the title, it sounds
like this painting is about releasing the imagination.
"From My Armchair", a peculiar
figure - a naked torso bereft of head and limbs - is propped against
one wall of a corner of a room. In a disturbingly unlikely manner,
the torso wears a cameo necklace. It is seemingly through these
surrogate eyes of the face on the cameo that the viewer gets a sense
of a human presence.
The viewer and the cameo /torso look at an illusion on the other
wall of the painted room. It appears to be a landscape with the
running figure on the red bannered standard stuck in a fleshy blob
that is being dissected, or something.
If you are getting the idea that almost everything has double
meanings that aren't always clear, you are getting the picture.
It can get psychologically heavy. In another work, five chess-like
figures of women protect/imprison a child (the artist?) Standing
neck-deep in a hole in the desert. Castle ruins are in the
Harmon's paintings put the viewer in touch with a certain
adolescent quality of thought and delight in the macabre and strange,
which is refreshing. His is an intriguing world of images and ideas
conveyed through a sumptuous style and technique.