Frederick Hammersley

Frederick Hammersley

1919-2009
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Frederick Hammersley’s paintings of the late 1950s and early 1960s incorporate two strains of abstraction stemming from artistic experiments: Surrealism/Dada and geometric abstraction. His intuitive or “hunch” method of allowing pictorial elements to present themselves before he begins a painting parallels the automatist practices of 1920s Surrealist painters such as Max Ernst; no drawings intervene. At the same time, the seemingly studied geometric arrangements that inhabit his canvases appear to carry on compositional explorations initiated earlier by Kasimir Malevich and Piet Mondrian. Although historically pinpointed as a hard-edge painter, his subtle abstract imagery also touches on the metaphysical. Hammersley’s perceptual games from this period, which play with spatial ambiguity, illusional depth and the viewer’s dimensional imagination, suggest an interesting link with subsequent California Light and Space artists such as Robert Irwin.

Nevertheless
Oil on masonite, 1963
4 x 4 inches
Gift of Ruth and Murray Gribin
2001.010.075