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Art & Life with Kay Hartung

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kay Hartung.

Kay, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest in a family of three children. I showed an interest in art at a very young age and my parents readily enrolled me in art classes. My father, who was a Neurosurgeon, started sculpting, when at the age of 50 someone gave him a gift of a block of wood, a chisel, and a mallet. He also became really interested in art and during my teenage years we visited museums and galleries together all the time. I attended Philadelphia College of Art and ended up majoring in Fibers which seemed to be a good mix of 2D and 3D and satisfied my love of color and pattern.

After graduating I lived in New York for a few years and then went to Grad School at Syracuse University. I am probably the only person you will hear of that has an MFA in Interlocking Structures. It was the 70’s and the Department head wanted to get away from the craft association of the word Fibers. I worked with untraditional materials creating sculptures with rubber, sisal, and resin. I moved to the Boston area where I settled, found a teaching job, worked in a gallery, got a studio, got married, started a family and have stayed for the past 40 years. I have raised two children, taught on the college level for 20 years and also been active in the arts community. I have had a studio at Maynard ArtSpace for 17 years, a wonderful studio building housing over 70 artists. I am a core member of Fountain Street gallery, I am co-chair of the gallery committee at my studio building, I help coordinate art exhibits at my local library, I am a member of New England Wax, Concord Art and Cambridge Art Association, I am a guide at the deCordova Museum. All these activities contribute to me as an artist and a person.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am interested in the intersection of art and science. My current work is fueled by my fascination with the microscopic world. I paint with encaustic which is a wax-based paint that produces a luminosity and depth created by multiple layers. I spend time looking at source material in books and on the internet but most of my imagery just comes out of my head. I experiment with various materials and enjoy finding new media to incorporate with encaustic. I work very intuitively and the paintings evolve as I go along. I often will conceal what I have painted and then reveal it again by scraping or torching. I create colonies of cellular shapes that migrate, flow, and multiply. My process builds layer upon layer of biomorphic forms, suggesting growth, development, and movement. I reveal the beauty of this mysterious world, inviting the viewer to contemplate the impact these minute forms have on our lives.

Do you think conditions are generally improving for artists? What more can cities and communities do to improve conditions for artists?
I think the Boston area is a good place for artists. There is a vital and active arts community and I would recommend getting involved with local arts organizations. The SOWA area has lots of galleries and there are several studio buildings in Boston and the outlying areas. There are places that are now being developed for business and residences that used to be where artists had studios. The city should be trying to do more to prevent this from happening and displacing artists. Artists contribute to the economy of a city, art enriches people’s lives. We need to get better support from the government for the arts.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I have a studio at ArtSpace Maynard and we will have Open Studios in late September. I welcome people to visit my studio by appointment by contacting me at k_hartung I am a member of Fountain Street Gallery in SOWA and will be having a show in February 2019. My work is also available through 1stdibs online. I currently have work in the annual show at Fitchburg Art Museum and in the “Unframed” show at Fountain Street.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Kay Hartung

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  1. Frank Davis

    July 3, 2018 at 12:03 am

    Stunning work!

  2. Jeanne Borofsky

    July 6, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Nice Kay!

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