Harry Carmean spent a lot of time with his friend painter Lorser Feitelson who created a series of "magical space forms" paintings in the late 1940's. Although Carmean is a primarily figurative artist, it was inevitable that through his association with Feitelson he would also develope an interest in the abstract side of art. (To see more of Carmean's abtract side see prior post on Carmean's Hard Edge art). The drawings shown here were done in the 1980's and show the influence of Feitelson's earlier surreal work (top image).
Friday 5 July 2013
Saturday 29 June 2013
Harry Carmean captured a true "meeting of the minds" in Los Angeles in this photo of art critic Jules Langsner and painters Karl Benjamin, John McLaughlin and Lorser Feitelson. It was at this meeting that the term "Hard Edge" was formulated Also involved in the movement was Feitelson's wife Helen Lundeburg whose paintings can be seen hanging on the wall in the background.
Monday 10 June 2013
Few people knew that Harry Carmean did the back cover of Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell album. Carmean's design for the album ended up getting a lot of attention and it used for Black Sabbath's national advertising campaign and as well as featured on a billboard towering over the Sunset Strip. Carmean lived for many years in Laurel Canyon which was the heart of the rock and roll industry at the time. He ended up becoming friends with some of rock and roll's finest including Carol King and Mark Volman (of the Turtles), both of whom were his neighbors.
Sunday 9 June 2013
At the age of 20 Harry Carmean joined the army and served in WW2, effectively ending a successful singing career. He was stationed in France and Germany for four years until the war's end. He then stayed on in France though the summer and studied art at the L'Ecole de Beaux Arts before returning to the United States. After he returned, while he tried to start up his singing again, he found himself drifting towards art. When he encountered the charismatic painting teacher Lorser Feitelson at Art Center he made the decision once and for all to become an artist.
Harry Carmean and Lorser Feitelson had similar aesthetic sensibilities as can be seen in these two unexpected classic Hard-Edge paintings by Carmean. They are a surprise because Carmean is known only for being a figurative artist. The paintings were done in the 1950's at the time the Hard-Edge movement was taking off. Feitelson and Carmean's work often followed parallel paths and these abstract paintings are just another example of how "great minds think alike".
Harry Carmean has drawn and painted himself throughout his long career, such as can be seen in these examples. The drawings were done in the 1950's and 60's and the painting of the artist drawing was done around 2010. Carmean follows a tradition of self portraiture which can be seen in artists like Rembrandt who painted themselves throughout the span of their careers.
Harry Carmean and Lorser Feitelson exhibited side by side at the LA Rising show at the Sullivan Goss Gallery in Santa Barbara (Sept. - Oct 2011), and what a sight it was! The two artists tackled similar themes with equally successful results. Feitelson is more known to the public than Harry Carmean, but as can be seen here, Carmean holds his own when showing with Feitelson who was his close friend and contemporary for thirty years. In time, Harry Carmean will be more recognized, and like Feitelson, will be seen as one of California's best interpreters of the figure.