April 11, 2021 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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Wednesday, August 2 - Sunday, August 27, 2017

Seventy Years of Painting: Cliff Harmon and Barbara Harmon

Gallery: Studio 238
Cliff Harmon, Abstract No. 3, Red Cliffs at PilarBarbara Harmon in Taos, 2012, by Kathleen Brennan
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 Selections: Seventy Years of Painting in Taos,
The Works of Cliff Franklin Harmon and Barbara Sayre Harmon

Cliff Harmon began his studies at the Bisttram School of Fine Arts in Los Angeles and Bisttram’s summer school in Taos, New Mexico.  Harmon settled in Taos in 1948 with his bride Barbara Sayre, also a student at Bisttram’s. In 1949-1950, Harmon and Sayre went to Black Mountain College in North Carolina to explore Bauhaus art design precepts. 
Harmon’s painting is based on the color theories promulgated by Joseph Albers, demonstrated in Albers’ series, Homage to the Square. Harmon’s personal technique of flat areas of color of different hues placed side by side visually appear as if modeled. His signature work over the last thirty years, including over 670 landscapes from his Earth Forms series, has been the imaging of “horizon” paintings, depicting in abstract form long vistas of warm desert hues of the Southwest in contrast with the cool hues and greens along llano and laguna.  In addition, Harmon’s work over the years featured exotic abstract figure compositions, such as his Three Graces series.  In 1987, based on a trip, to Thailand, Bali, and Java, he was inspired to paint a series based on the Hindu Gupta style.  Harmon is represented in many private collections as well as in museums in New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.

Barbara Sayre was raised in the atmosphere of the Californian outdoor landscape painters.  Her early travels with her father and California desert painter Fred Grayson Sayre to remote areas of the Southwest have been her lifelong inspiration. She was a long time exhibitor at the Stables Gallery in  Taos, at Blair Galleries, Ltd. in Santa Fe, and at the Baker Gallery in Lubbock Texas.

Sayre’s métier is fantasy, The World of Willderwish, encompassing both a lighthearted atmosphere and the mysteries of ancient bottles, bouquets, and muses in enchanted gardens.  A highly imaginative quality carries over into the paintings from her travels in Europe, the Near East, and Mexico as well as in the portraiture of her friends and neighbors in Taos. Recently, her work was in the exhibition dedicated to the artists that attended Black Mountain College in 1950, as well as in the show, Suspension of Disbelief, both at the Harwood Museum.  She was also honored with a sixty-five year retrospective exhibition of her work, from 1947 to the present, at the Blumenschein House of the Taos Historic Museums, where she received the Blumenschein Award for her lifetime contribution to the art and culture of New Mexico.

The opening reception on August 4th is free and open to the public.