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(Hal) Douglas Himes

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(Hal) Douglas Himes

(Park City, Utah, 1956 - )

Hal Douglas Himes was born in Park City, Utah in 1956. He grew up in Southern California, lived in Europe for several years, and then returned to Utah to study painting and printmaking. After earning his degrees, he taught printmaking and drawing at Brigham Young University. At first, Himes was primarily a printmaker, editioning small works on paper. Later he turned to oils and occasionally produced canvases such as Tabernacle. He sees in his work the influence of artists whose work he admires, especially Paul Klee and Rufino Tamayo. He has also been greatly influenced by his mentor, Wulf Barsch, a printmaker and painter who is a member of the Brigham Young University art faculty. Both Himes and Barsch create art that is replete with religious symbols. In painting Tabernacle, Himes was influenced by Egyptian wall murals and reliefs, whose vibrant imagery refers more to life than to death. Many Egyptian works depict the Tree of Life at the doorstep of the temple. The prominent bird image represents mobility and the freedom to go quickly from one realm to another. Tabernacle contains images that speak of abundant life, of transition, and hope. The symbolic images are strong and beautiful, refreshing and nourishing: they deal with the age-old questions every culture has asked. In 1994, after teaching for five years, Doug Himes left academia to devote more time to painting. He and his wife Christina moved with their family to a 20-acre farm in the Missouri Ozarks. Together they spend their time working the farm, reading, walking, birdwatching, learning to play recorder, building barns, and gardening. "All these activities are conducive to painting," says Himes. "They bring my family and me closer to the sources of our own nourishment, both physically and spiritually." For Himes, painting is a way of observing, of recalling and of learning. What he reads about and questions can be examined visually through painting, re-stated, and then examined more deeply. Himes hopes his paintings communicate precisely ideas that have universal importance. He says, Artists have always used symbols to communicate meaning on many levels at once. It is only in our day that symbols have come to mean less and less or have come to be misunderstood entirely. We focus more on the symbols and less on what they signify, making them literally insignificant. The ideas represented in my paintings aren't verbal, that's why they're paintings and not literary works. A good painting 'says' certain things that can't be said better any other way. But we all have to work on our visual literacy, to refine our ability to sense meaning in visual works. Although his work is considered cryptic by some, Himes says he is gratified by the number of viewers who "read" his intended meaning. And unlike some contemporary artists, Himes believes commissioned work is often more meaningful because it is not anynomous; the contact with the patron provides a kind of dialogue out of which a particular, unique artwork develops. Doug Himes' work is currently in various private collections as well as being owned by Delta Airlines, Bradley University, Ohio State University, Salt Lake Community College. He sells his work through the Coda Gallery in Park City, and through galleries in Salt Lake City, and in Palm Desert, California.

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