View of “Harmony Hammond,” 2019.

View of “Harmony Hammond,” 2019.

Harmony Hammond

The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Harmony Hammond first laid out a case for abstraction in her 1977 essay “Feminist Abstract Art: A Political Viewpoint.” Building on the feminist maxim that the personal is political, Hammond contended that abstraction is political because repetitive mark-making is a “record of present feeling.” From the early days of her practice, Hammond framed her abstract works as “visual diaries” capable of communicating their maker’s identifications and desires. In Hammond’s formulation, however, abstraction is not a mode of expressing the “real” self or the truths of the unconscious, as had been explained in preceding decades. Rather, abstraction is an explicitly feminist and queer tool for visualizing and exploring the ever-changing textures of subjectivity. Across the five decades of Hammond’s practice, the material strategies of process art parallel the processual formation of identification.


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