Portfolio > Heart Condition: Harney's Not-So-Gray Anatomy

This series of collages began a few years ago around the time my heart condition was diagnosed. For Harneys, it’s not really a question of: “will they have a heart condition”, but rather, when will it be discovered. The apple just doesn’t fall far enough away from the
family tree. I’ve often made work that reflects what is going on in my life at a particular moment; admittedly, these collages are a result of that impulse. (In general, I have a number of things I’m working at any one time. These collages were made in the midst of my working on some large-scale paintings that were, for the most part, unrelated).

In addition to my usual concerns: the play of sizes and shapes, color, the marriage of differences, etc. this work also reveals some long-held fascinations of mine: antique anatomy and medical books (where the color of the plates can seem odd, fantastic and arbitrary), charts & diagrams, illuminations, old mechanical drawing books and vintage
publications for machine-shop practice. The sources that influence a great deal of my work are evident as well: Indian miniatures, Russian Constructivism and modernist abstraction in general.

Besides the actual visual behavior of a work, I often point out to students that all that honestly interests me are the decisions made. This decision making includes what we choose not to do, as well- or what we consciously reject as being a significant aspect of the
work. There’s a marvelous remark by Robert Motherwell from his letter to Frank O’Hara, that I often think of while working, but particularly when working in collage:

“Every picture one paints involves not painting others! What a choice!”

It’s a conscious decision on my part to maintain a directness to these collages that relates more to the nature of a book plate, whether it be medical, mechanical or botanical. Equally conscious and considered, were my decisions to not pursue the blatantly surreal or the commonness of photomontage. I set parameters as well in regard to the sources used, the qualities and relative age of the papers used, and so on. In all likelihood, I couldn’t achieve much greater complexity in the actual papercutting anyway, however, I was, in fact, determined to not allow the nature of the papercutting, such as it is, to be so complex, that the obsessiveness and finesse dominate the work’s visual presence.

T.H. 2017

Listen to His Heart
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Woman with Enlarged Heart
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
The Re-positioning of the Heart
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
The Detached Carotid
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
The Culture of the Abdomen
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Shroud on the Ilium, Male
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Monthly Head Valve Examination
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Iron Lung Heart
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Indian Aorta Disorder
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
How to Aleviate this Mortal Coil
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Head in the Stomach
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Diagram for the Low Hung Heart
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Diagnosis of Rotating Breast and Tuber Ischii
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Complications of the Heart
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014
Cardiac Propeller Procedure
collage with hand coloring
15" x 11"
2014