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Robert Hamilton

Robert Hamilton (1917-2004) looked to his history, especially his 100 mission Air Force stint in WW II and to his imagination for inspiration. Especially to his imagination. His paintings are whimsical and witty. Infused with humor, irony and a less definable disquiet, they conjure life’s absurdities and darknesses in an explosively colorful painting style that is as compelling and delightful as his images are not quite scrutable.

On this occasion I photographed him in his studio, packed with paints, rollers, brushes, plywood, moldings, a chop saw, and copious drifts of sawdust and cigar ash, and then made this portrait in his house across the street as he was about to sign a print.

There’s a lot about this portrait that I like: the halo-like glow from the work light above his head, and the hard shadows it casts; the way light emphasizes his eyepatch and his other less disabled eye; his direct, piercing gaze; his fleece jacket, with cigar ash burn holes; the angles formed by his arms; his strong, gnarled hands. His wife, Nancy, also an artist, loved how this image captured Hamilton and wrote to us and wrote to us of her appreciation of it shortly after Hamilton’s death in 2004:

And right above me is Ed’s portrait. Robert is watching me as I write every day and it is a comfort!”

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Robert Hamilton

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Photographs on paper are printed on archival paper with the printer manufacturer's archival inks.

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