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Intricate Symbolism: Paintings by Howard Hastie

A painting of two surreal grey figures in a winter landscapeInside Shadow, oil on canvas

Our featured artist Howard Hastie’s paintings express intricate symbolism, whether through the repetition of actual symbols in his abstract works, or through the use of his strange, bulbous, humanoid shapes in the backgrounds of his more figurative paintings.


An oil painting in a pattern similar to a carpetLa Carrotte, et Le Baton, oil on canvas

I’m fascinated by Howard’s abstractions – they seem to toe the line between genuine abstraction and patterns of figurative images. Where other artists create geometric paintings that seem quite calculated, Howard's abstracts are imperfect and human. A number of them seem almost as if they could function as textile patterns, mimicking the intricacy of Persian rugs, for example. Equally fascinating are the mysterious figures that populate Howard’s figurative images. He generally paints these in neutral grey and brown tones, and fittingly they seem to function as landscape in a number of images. 


A screen capture of Howard Hastie's website front pageThe front page of Howard's website

These ever-changing growths of many different limbs and faces seem like a mysterious, vaguely spiritual addition to what might be basic backgrounds. Howard leaves the symbolism of these figures to be explored by the viewer. 

A surreal painting of bizarre grey figures in a landscapeUnder the Yellow Sun, oil on canvas

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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