James Hart

Gallery Affiliations: Phil Space

Region: West

When I was two years old, my parents noticed I held things very close. The first eight pairs of glasses they gave me were crushed under the carpet, as I preferred the blurry field that fed my imagination. As a boy, I remember going up to the attic with a volume of Mathew Brady’s photographs and secretly using my microscopic powers to scan the faces of the soldiers and corpses.

I grew up, went to Rochester, got an MFA, taught photography for 16 years, and for 23 years have been in business photographing art. By 2005, the year I began to paint, I had photographed over 80,000 paintings and drawings. I loved to take my glasses off, inspecting the brushstrokes of paintings microscopically under the floodlights.

When painting, I make decisions in a detached way, akin to processes used in photography. I like to work close-up, with a cut off brush, one brushstroke at a time, growing oil paintings into energetic fields that take on form and, sometimes, flower.