Light unifies the landscapes of Hearne Pardee

It’s a long way from Manhattan’s Lower East Side to suburban Davis. Hearne Pardee’s journey to California covers 30 years of painting, exemplified by the 20 oils on view in his retrospective at Alex Bult Gallery in midtown.

Pardee received his Bachelor of Arts from Yale in 1969 and subsequently studied at the New York Studio School in the early 1970s where Philip Guston was teaching and the influence of Hans Hoffman lingered. While there, he began working outside, haunting the streets of Manhattan like a 19th century flaneur, looking for moments of revelation in urban spaces.

His paintings of Houston Street from this time have a desolate, lonely quality that makes one think of Edward Hopper, though that connection, says Pardee, was not what he had in mind. Still, there is a haunted feeling to the works with their bare tree branches and a lone figure sitting on a bench

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