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Hartnell College Gallery Exhibition to Feature Works by John Haley

August 27th, 2004

An exhibition of the works of John Haley - whose career spanned eight decades - will be presented at the Hartnell College Gallery Sept. 7 through Oct. 7.

The first of a series of events to celebrate the college's 85th anniversary year, the exhibit, "John Haley: Form and Space," will feature examples of his sculpture, painting, printmaking, drawing and photography.

Gallery hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public

Born in Minneapolis in 1905, Haley studied at the Minneapolis School of Art. His earliest works were made in the 1920s during the first years of Hartnell's existence. They are striking academic drawings of figures that allude to his lifelong interest in the sculptural complexities of form and light, said Gary Smith, gallery director and Hartnell art instructor.

Such traditional imagery and technique were radically transformed by a European visit in 1927, according to Smith. Haley developed a strong new direction in his painting and drawing, first through his encounter with African sculpture at the British Museum in London, and then with ideas of Cubism during his year at the influential school of modern art headed by Hans Hoffman in Munich.

Upon his return to the United States in 1928, Haley used these new found influences to create images based on geometric forms, especially cubes, cylinders and spheres in a series of paintings and drawings.

These include one of the first artworks to come to the Hartnell College's permanent collection. "Muckers", a lithograph of 1936, was part of a group of works on paper by prominent San Francisco Bay Area artists acquired by the college in 1939 through the WPA (Works Progress Administration.)

In 2004, through the generosity of The John Haley Trust and Gregory Ghent, its trustee, the original drawing for this lithograph by Haley was donated to Hartnell. The two will be reunited and shown together for the first time in more than 70 years.

(Hartnell's permanent collection has now grown to a collection containing Japanese folk art, Mexican dance masks, FSA (Farm Security Administration) photographs, Huichol Indian artifacts, as well as contemporary paintings an photographs - nearly 2,000 objects in total.)

In 1930 Haley began his 42-year-long teaching career at the University of California in Berkeley. While primarily known for his paintings in which he continued to explore new ideas and materials, Haley made periodic and significant experiments in sculpture.

During the 1950s and 1960s, carved works reflected his passion for the art of Africa and Oceania. During the 1970s until the end of his life in 1991, he worked on more formal planar pieces that evoke three-dimensional shape and space.

The exhibition will include powerful but rarely seen photography produced by Haley after his initial studies with Ansel Adams in 1959 and 1960.

The 80-year range of Haley's art is a fitting opening to the 85th anniversary celebration of Hartnell College, said Smith. Hartnell was founded in 1920 and will celebrate its 85th anniversary during the 2004-05 academic year with a wide range of events.

The Haley exhibition is supported by the Hartnell College Foundation through the Burrel Leonard Bequest and The John Haley Trust.

For more information, contact Gary Smith at (831) 755-6791.