Harold Garde was born in New York City in 1923. He attended public schools with three years as a science major at the College of the City of New York. In Wyoming, on the GI Bill of Rights after three years in the military (Army Air Forces, with time spent in the Philippines) he worked for the art department as a student assistant and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts. The faculty included the surrealist Leon Kelly, the abstract expressionist George McNeil and the geometric abstractionist Ilya Bolotowsky. Returning to New York, he attended Columbia University and received a Masters in Fine Arts and Art Education. Garde then taught secondary school art for two years in Roselle, New Jersey before returning to New York City where he worked in commercial interior design.
In 1968 Garde became a professor, adjunct faculty Art Department at the Nassau Community College in Garden City, NY. He continued painting and exhibiting, and in 1971 in addition to the college teaching, began full time art teaching in the secondary school system of Port Washington, N.Y.
In 1970 Garde had his first solo showing in Huntington, N.Y. and continued to exhibit regularly. In 1984 after retiring from teaching he moved to Belfast, Maine, with his second wife, the late writer, Barbara Kramer. Ten years later they bought a winter home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida where Garde continues to divide his time between home and studio in Maine and Florida.
“I have an abstract expressionist background. It was the most excitingly new development in art when I was a young painter. Much of that training remains. I am interested in what paint can do, making marks that expressively respond to my thoughts and actions. Now, although I rarely choose to allow the non-figurative (the ‘abstract’ of “abstract expressionism”) to remain as the final work. From this first non-figurative stage I will continue working until I find an image that becomes an identifiable subject. When I have decided on this image, then comes the careful exploring and developing needed to finalize each work, each with its own unique integrity.
Although I enjoyed my experiences with sophisticated techniques and equipment, I now want the simplest, the most direct, the most basic. I choose to work in acrylics because of the easy application when painting on paper or canvas. For more recent print-making I have developed and taught my dry image transfer “strappo” technique. I relish the effects I can create with the use of simple tools, acrylic paints and glass plates.
There are themes that recur in my work and often re-emerge as current challenges. Although an individual work must be a unique statement, I welcome a subject that invites a multitude of solutions. When that occurs, and I am concerned with a series, there is a helpful direction as I reach for a solution. A new and separate version can be an answer to the puzzle that is every painting. Looking for a new solution challenges and keeps me energized. The accumulation that results from these explorations can present me or viewers with a rewarding overview.
Over the years I have used as subjects the images of chairs, single and in groups. I have a pinnacle series, a series with still life references. There are some series have figures and faces, puppeteers and puppets. A group of recent work related to the “T” shape of the kimono. Such subjects, suitable for a series, attract me when they are generic, ones that are familiar, readily recognized, capable of being rendered with many variations. Whether they are presented subtly or boldly, small or large, fragile or monumental, I want my works to be visually exciting, capable of engaging the eye, the emotions and stimulating the mind of the viewer
I am interested in what paint can do, making marks that expressively respond to my thoughts and actions.