The Landscapes of Daniel Chard
I have had a life of privilege. Along the way, it didn’t feel so special; I often felt on my heels, just trying not to screw up. I was seen as having intelligence and this led teachers to often say that I could be doing much better. But much of school – beyond music – was not interesting nor motivating to me. As it turned out, I had a large creative talent for the visual arts that the schools had not tapped. With a math and science aptitude and teachers leading me toward engineering, my creative aptitude was neglected and untapped, until my sophomore year of college. Still – when becoming an art major in college – there was a long way to go; the depth of my talent took many years to be realized. Teaching art became a means for that talent to be further developed, and teaching art allowed me to be a student, exploring my talent as I helped developed talent in others.
Our lives comprise a long path; many chapters lead us to the present. Who knows what choices and influences determine our fate and destiny. Naturally, we would like to think that our life is there to choose; we wouldn't want to think that our destiny just happens to us. As our lives comprise family, friends, job, community and interests, each of those elements play a role. In my case, family – including spouses, children, parents and relatives – provided important grounding from which my life evolved, perhaps even more so in the present. And job – with professional relationships –provided a grounding that allowed steady personal growth, allowing that student part of my life to continue and flourish.
Now, an octogenarian, everything is much clearer, and it all seems to have had purpose. From family, job and the pursuit of interests, I have found a sweet spot for life that is supported by love and peace. It is in my experience of self – apart from the content in my life – that I have found the holy grail, so to speak. Now, nothing needs to happen. There’s nothing to accomplish, there’s nothing to understand and there’s no circumstances in the outside world with which my well-being depends. I feel, as Martin Luther King said, “I’ve been to the top of the mountain,” at least to my highest vantage point from which to see.
This book presents forty years of landscape painting that played an important part of my journey as I explored perception and experience with paintings of the natural landscape. Working with a fine-tuned New York gallery was a critical part of the journey because I was led to approach landscape painting with a discriminating critical eye, thanks to the people in the gallery, Ivan Karp a genius teacher.
The toughest part of my education was received from Ivan Karp. He had an incredible eye, and he saw art critically at first glance. Even though I was accepted into Ivan's gallery – the O. K. Harris Gallery in New York's SoHo district – joining the gallery stable of artists was just the beginning of my education as an artist; that beginning became apparent when I decided to spread my wings with new aesthetic challenges. The art I had shown Ivan on entrance to the gallery was the result of a natural painting process that required little effort beyond the technique. However, O. K. Harris exhibited artists who were at the top of their game; as I developed my painting further, I would have to be more conscious of gallery standards and Ivan's eye, that is, the eye that Ivan used to select work for the gallery. He wasn't simply selecting "good" work; rather, Ivan selected work for exhibitions based on a particular contemporary vision, a vision discussed in subsequent text (pages 5-8).
This book presents the bodies of work that were developed for the O. K. Harris Gallery 1979-2014, until Ivan's death and the gallery's subsequent closing. Work from the last decade – since 2014 – is also included. Over 35 years, the gallery showed nearly 400 paintings with 300 paintings placed in private, public or corporate collections. This book presents various styles and approaches that were featured in solo exhibitions at O. K. Harris as well as galleries and museums throughout the United States.
It has been an interesting experience to put the paintings together in a book that represents a creative journey comprising forty years of my life. But there was also forty years prior to the landscape painting and now a full decade has passed since O. K. Harris closed. The curiosity that led to painting is still there, with many possibilities to pursue.
* * * * *