It can be easy to get stuck pigeon-holing people into the roles in which we know them best. Mother, father, sister, brother, doctor, lawyer, artist. But we aren’t flat and one-dimensional. We are made up of many sides, many layers– some complementary to each other, others contradictory. When we think of abstraction, for me at least, my mind automatically runs to painting. But, as the work of Hilary Harnishfeger shows, abstraction can move past the dimensional limits of a painting on canvas.
Harnischfeger’s work feels to me like what happens when we peel open the layers of a person we’ve never attempted to understand outside the box we’ve placed them in. All of sudden, we begin to see a world opened up– dreams and interests we could have never imagined because we never took the time to ask. It’s so easy to take that flatness for granted, to not bother to think beyond it. And on the other side, it can be difficult to let those dimensions be seen. It’s less risky to just settle into and reveal ourselves in only that one role. What if, when we turn ourselves around, we find it was all just a facade?
All images via the Rachel Uffner Gallery website.