Rebecca Hamm, Art and Cake Artist Profile June, 2019
Rebecca Hamm: Nature Reclaims Art
Written by Genie Davis
excerpt: Rebecca Hamm says that her paintings reveal the moments where nature’s striking beauty alters human transformation. Her layered, abstracted images are sparked with the promise of this unpredictable, awe-inspiring, and mysterious force, of nature itself: besting us, changing us, revealing its depths, wonder, and experiences...
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Underlining Nature by Steve Thomas, 2020
UNDERLINING NATURE by Steve Thomas, 2020
Rebecca Hamm sees the complexities of natural environments and renders a vision that explore mysteries of life. The artwork is inspired through intimate encounters with nature’s wonder. Her compositions include a saturated color palette, painterly gestures and bold contours. She skillfully depicts plant, animal, mineral and atmosphere in concert within environments that are saturated with life. Yet, her art suggests that life’s mysteries are just below the surface. As a midcareer artist, Rebecca is driven to create compositions that shed light on that which is not easily seen. It is artwork of the visible which invites viewers to search for the unseen—the spirit within.
Her recent artwork is much more than the depiction of the primary elements of nature. She is deconstructing the visible realm through expressions that are intuited, captured and rendered from familiar environments. To varying degrees, Rebecca layers her works with intersecting forms and lines – sometimes through impasto and other-times with pointillist sharpness. These layers are frequently met with further layers—a visual artist’s version of call-and-response. She says her new process is all consuming and she frequently loses sense of time while painting. Rebecca’s newer compositions continue to ring true to her greater body of figurative work. One can sense the flora and fauna integrated within a multiplicity of intricate layers, abstract forms and splashes of color. However, it’s as if Rebecca is diagramming emotions that relate to hidden structures and intimate encounters within states of the natural environment. Her interpretations of nature are bold abstractions. The visual language is cryptic and may best be viewed with an open mind, a glass of red wine and a selected musical score. George Frideric Handel’s orchestral accomplishment, Water Music, speaks to iconic interpretations of nature. Even though one never sees, touches, tastes nor smells it, Handel exhibits the nature of water on the Thames, through orchestrated sounds and textures.
To successfully share insight into the inward world of things in nature, one has to be able to articulate that which is beyond the verbal. The inner artist channels painterly expression. Indeed, abstract expressionism is enabling Rebecca to release the spirits from within the immersive micro environments that have always compelled her, offering expression through the fluid medium of paint.
"Spirit, then, is distinguished from nature as the abstract form of the concrete, and the things of spirit are identified with the things of the mind—with the world of words and thought-symbols—which are then seen, not as representing the concrete world, but as underlying it."
—Alan W Watts, “Nature, Man and Woman”
Rebecca Hamm, Defining Nature by Christopher Michno
On Rebecca Hamm by Christopher Michno January, 2009
From Defining Nature at LACMA– written by Christopher Michno, exhibition curated by Nancy Kaye at the Art Rental and Sales Gallery at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 7, 2008 through January 8, 2009.
A duality of the awareness of human impact on the environment, and the idea of nature as a dynamic system in which humanity is but a small part, presses upon Rebecca Hamm’s notion of landscape painting. Hamm’s work has long functioned to apprehend and transmit her experience of the natural world, and with her recent series of paintings, Hamm has begun to systematize this concern. Previous works are composed in traditional pictorial modes; they are primarily landscapes which depict a place or an event. In 2007, the artist began working on a series of four foot by six foot watercolors in which she communicates an impression of her experience of nature – a gestalt rather than a specific scene or memory. Hamm imparts an aura of free association: pictorial representation remains, but Hamm limits it to allusive passages within overall patterns – a branch, a leaf, a stone, or the sensation of running water. In Hamm’s painting, which has become abstract while remaining descriptive, images unfold in a loose geometric format, resembling the large-scale grids characteristic of aerial photographs. The paintings evoke the macro-view of landscape as seen from 15,000 feet.
Hamm’s pursuit of pure description grows out of two large, oil on gesso on paper, paintings from 2001; constructed from numerous sheets of heavy, cotton paper, both works appear fragmented. These assemblages, jig-sawed together, convey informality; pinned to the wall, they underscore the fragility of the natural world. Red Tree, which is 12 feet high, depicts a pine that died from a bark beetle infestation. The image of the pine materializes out of a pointillist style in this atmospheric painting, and the work sustains the illusion of the thick, shimmering air quality of the Los Angeles basin.
Similarly composed on multiple sheets of cotton paper, Wilderness Park, an extensive vista of the local foothills above Claremont, segments the artist’s experience of nature into multiple vantage points. This decentralized approach to her imagery results in work that is larger than the sum of its parts, and Hamm employs this course in her current series of paintings. Rather than rough edges and segmented surfaces, however, Hamm’s new paintings offer a seamless structure and smooth continuous skins, while the visual information swirls in blips and dots and the coarse bark of branches. In these new paintings, Hamm relates an ephemeral experience of place and affords a synthesis of fracture and continuity.
Los Angeles, January 2009
Defining Nature – curated by Nancy Kaye at the Art Rental and Sales Gallery at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 7, 2008 through January 8, 2009.
Meet Rebecca Hamm ShoutOut LA 2020 page 1
Meet Rebecca Hamm ShoutOut LA 2020 page 2