The kimono, worn by aristocratic and wealthy Japanese women for hundreds of years, exudes a sense of beauty, grace, sensuality, and mystery to the Western world...Artists of every discipline have become aware of the kimono’s timeless beauty and, in various ways over the years, have made it a part of their repertoire.
--Eleanor Rosenfeld, The Textile Museum, Washington DC
ArtSuite Gallery presents, Harold Garde: In the Shape of the Kimono, an exhibition of an extensive series by American painter and printmaker, Harold Garde. Produced in a variety of media, Garde’s kimono series includes small, single strappo (acrylic transfer) prints, large composite prints in the shape of the kimono, altered monotypes, and acrylic paintings on paper and canvas.
In the readily identifiable basic T-shape of the kimono form, Garde finds seemingly infinite variety for his formal explorations of shape, color and texture. As Gale Scott wrote in Structure and Poetry: Harold Garde's Kimono Series the kimono...."serves as the support for a more complex interior narrative, as in a single ethereal being, suggested by a few spare strokes; in still others, it is an imperial robe of the artist’s imagination, a rich tapestry of color and pattern.
Garde states the series began, as “a result of experimenting with the arrangement of strappo plates before transferring the images. I saw a simple symmetrical positioning that suggested the shape of the kimono...That was the start.” This led to the experimentation with the kimono form in different media and a growing fascination with its emotional and narrative implications.
Garde continues, “Many things about the shape of the kimono spur my creativity. There is the garment itself. It has history. With many adaptations and variations, it is worn by a wide range of people—men, women, and children. Beautifully, the kimono is a form of canvas on which art is expressed. With cross-cultural implications, using the shape of the kimono is a happy choice, and, while my own work abstracts, I believe I do coincide with the makers of the wearable kimono.”