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Ed Garman

(1914 - 2004)
An artist whose modernist style grew during the Depression and World War II eras, Ed Garman had several experiences that directed him to his signature style of Geometric Abstraction, which he called Dynamic Painting. In 1933, he studied modern stage design at the University of New Mexico with Adolph Appia and Edward Gordon Craig, who were pioneers in stark, simple theatre sets. Several years later, working as a WPA artist (Federal Arts Project) with Edgar Hewett, archaeologist, he became fascinated by pottery shards and Indian craft designs. Assigned to determine which shards belonged to which tribe, Garman would arrange random shards that became, to him, fascinating abstract and colorful designs. This experience also turned his interest from the social issues of the Mexican muralists to the reverence for history and tradition held by the Indians. Another influence towards modernism was a 1935 retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago of paintings by Vincent Van Gogh.

In 1941, he joined the Transcendental Painting Group---the last member to join--and by this time had formed a close friendship with New Mexico modernist Raymond Jonson and with Bill Lumpkins, both members of the Transcendental Group. However, Garman's art focus, like that of so many artists of that era, was interrupted by service in World War II.


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