Growing thing & seed
Frederick Hammersley has been called a Baroque artist in Minimalist’s clothing, in reference to the complex arrangements of colors and geometric shapes in many of his paintings. Hammersley was stongly influenced by classical art theory. He suggested that an artist had seven tools at their disposal: line, shape, value, color, form, pattern and texture. As an art instructor, he suggested that one should use at least two of these tools in any given composition.
Hammersley was especially intrigued by shape, line, value, and color. He said, “all I need is red and yellow and black and white. If I marry yellow and black, I get greens.” This fundamental theory that Hammersley applied to much of his work over the course of his career is evidenced in the predominantly grey, red, yellow, and green color scheme of Growing thing & seed.
As a GI in Europe at the end of WWII he had the opportunity to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He was particularly inspired by Picasso, and had the opportunity to visit his studio in Paris. Upon his return to the US, he settled in Los Angeles where he became associated with the group of artists who became known as Abstract Classicists. They are also referred to as Hard-edge abstract painters.
Hammersley said that “hard edge is often very hard to take, coming to it cold, or even to the practiced eye.” In his desire to make his work more accessible and less aloof, he used titles as invitations, often making puns, double entendres, or witty phrases to provide the viewer with verbal insight into non-objective compositions. The title of this painting, Growing thing & seed, invites the viewer to engage with this work thoughtfully by considering the shapes and colors in reference to the forms and processes of nature.
Artist: Frederick Hammersley
Title: Growing thing & seed
Medium: Oil on canvas
Dimension: 30 x 24 in. (76.2 x 60.96 cm)
Collection: The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art
Copyright: Copyright Frederick Hammersley Foundation