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James Havard – I’m Still Here

Goldleaf Gallery
Santa Fe, NM
Opens Oct 4th, 2019

 Walking down the hallway to James Havard’s room you can follow the increasing paint spots on the carpet. His door sports not the usual plastic flowers and lace-framed photographs, but rather smudges and fingerprints of color. Havard paints here with his left hand, blind in his right eye and wheelchair bound after his stroke in 2006. The stroke left him in a five-week coma with months of rehabilitation, occurring shortly after his last exhibition with Allen Stone in NYC and release of his retrospective book designed by David Chickey of Santa Fe. Colored markers and plain paper were essential to his return; art and painting were and are his life.

 He now works small; no brushes full of heavy oil or encaustic wax but rather his fingers painting with soft oil sticks, pencils used to draw and scratch his marks down to the board. In his developed Art Brut style, he continues to place his figures in an intense color field of unassociated space.  Often disembodied floating faces directly gaze out to us. Striped and polka-dot clothing adorns legs and dresses of his fellow elders or staff. He paints every day. He is still here, sunshine on his little table surrounded by these people in his work.

 Catherine Eaton Skinner