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FIGURE OUT OF SPACE

by JACK HAMMACK & LOREN CHASSE

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about

I have not met Jack Hammack. But his artwork showed up in my life, suddenly, almost in its entirety, thanks to the radar of my friend Jon Roberts who rescued it from art oblivion in the basement of a house in Portland. Having poured over his paintings and drawings for many months now, I know enough about his work to feel the imperative for collaboration in some way.

Hammack's large paintings from the 1970s into the 80s depict anthropomorphic stacks of objects--often precarious, furniture-like, biological, grotesque--whistling, bulging, flatulent and dripping--humorous, and even regal or divine. Taken as a collection, they exhale an atmosphere--made apparent at an exhibition of them all here in Portland this past June. Taken as individuals--each "figure" composed of specific non-specific objects--they imply a music strewn with singular actions and events suggesting narrative pasts and futures beyond their frames. These "song-figures" were made specifically for each painting with attention to the colors, forms, lines and, in some cases, titles. They were made humbly, playfully, and with reverence to the spirit of the artist.

credits

released July 28, 2021

John “Jack” Hammack (1925-1990)

In the basement of a 1940s Portland, Oregon bungalow, an archive of John “Jack” Hammack’s relentless creativity lay dormant, patiently awaiting discovery for over 30 years after his passing. His life’s work tucked between floor joists, in dresser drawers, and stacked on makeshift shelving. Paintings, works on paper, and mixed media creations spanning over four decades.

Jack was a prolific, if not compulsive painter, as evidenced by the sheer volume of work that has survived him. Although he rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names to come out of the mid-20th century Pacific Northwest art scene, Jack Hammack comparatively received very little attention for his creative endeavors. We can only surmise that painting was a deeply personal practice for him, as the many intimate small scale works he created seem to serve as a visual journal of personal mythology, concepts, and experiences.

--Jon Roberts

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loren chasse (Of) Portland, Oregon

Loren Chasse's current projects include himself, So I'm As You'll, and Latourel. Past projects include idBattery, Of, Thuja, The Child Readers, Franciscan Hobbies, Coelacanth, the Jewelled Antler label, collaborations with Keith Evans, Michael Northam and Branic Howard, composing for TopShake Dance Company, and performing the works of avant garde composers with Portland's Extradition series. ... more

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