By Grant Haffner
Published Issue 087, March 2021
Born 1978 in Berkeley, California, Grant Haffner was raised in East Hampton, NY. He currently lives and works in Western MA.
Grant was a resident of Long Island’s East End for most of his life. His images are still inspired by and reflect the country roads, flat landscapes and surrounding water that he would absorb while traveling the area in his pickup truck. His signature motif of utility poles and the open road create an original sense of movement and depth to his distinctive compositions.
My work explores memory, transition, movement and the biological relationship between man and nature. Through linear, dreamlike landscapes, I elevate the often overlooked experience of road-travel to an exploration of the subtlety of light and emotion.
I find inspiration in my surroundings during sunrise, along the quiet country roads and waterways of Long Island, and more recently Massachusetts. The straight roads, horizontal lines of the plains, and calm bodies of water that have surrounded me for most of my life have captivated me with endless subject matter. My work exaggerates and explores intersections of sky and the open road.
These landscapes, represented in bold, candy-like, often neon colors, embody the tranquility of rural scenery, making reference to and highlighting the beauty of the country, and a beauty that is often overlooked or one that is seen, yet not remembered. The colors, sometimes in a solarized palette, also suggest movement, depicting the speed and rhythm of the rural roadways.
Whenever possible I try to sit and experience the silence and subtle yet monumental changes in light within the transition from morning to night. Through color I want to remind my viewer that no two sunrises are the same, and to emphasis the biological bodily response to changes in light. I aim to make the viewer feel like they are alone on this journey, to respond to the colors represented in the work, and to experience an emotive reaction. My paintings allow the viewer to escape life, to get behind the wheel and to feel the flow of forward motion and momentum; remember the white and yellow lines of the road, the straight roadways and the power lines.
My use of utility poles and power lines draw the viewer back to a reality that evokes a sense of nostalgia and universality. The power poles are such a signifer of American roadways, viewers recognize these scenes as nostalgic places from their childhoods, recognizable scenes that elicit reminiscence. The use of these elements are primary to these compositions as they are utilized to exaggerate the depth of field and perspective and my absorption in the fleeting landscape. I explore the limits of the horizon, which appear to extend as far as the eye can see, with no end or beginning.