To explore the work of Durant Hapke is to confront both the artist’s profound connection to mechanistic mysticism and his commitment to a perplexing array of self-referential practices.
Born in Northern Iowa, Hapke often recalls the farm on which he was raised, and to which he credits his admiration of machines influences on the natural world. Farm life provided Hapke an early appreciation of seasonal transformation, a theme which, throughout his kaleidoscopic career, regularly appears in his work.
Hapke describes his formal art training is extensive, with various educational environments exposing him to a cadre of sophisticated teachers, peers, and practices. Yet, the artist has taken extraordinary steps to disassociate himself from academia. “My concern is the rocket, not the launchpad,” Hapke stated at the opening of his 1998 one man show, Living as Blasphemy.
For the last ten years, Hapke has worked from his isolated studio in central North Dakota. Here, he dwells in cyclical production mode, shifting his focus daily. Always developing multiple projects at a time, Hapke stays grounded though ritual and private shamanic practices. “I’ve nothing to share,” states Hapke, “Scratching through reality is hard, and it’s done alone, screaming into a vacuum, inside of a vacuum, inside of a vacuum.”
Surrounding farm operations remind Hapke of the steel walled garages and shadowy barns of his childhood. And the repeating clock of seasonal transition drive Hapke’s continuous experimentation and dedication to his art.
Beyond his Midwestern base of operation, Hapke has permeated the American art scene with solo exhibitions and curated group shows throughout Texas, Louisiana, California, and New Mexico. He has also reached an international audience through numerous exhibitions as well as gallery representation in Germany and France.
Hapke’s accolades are extensive, including the coveted Roosevelt and Badlands Fellowship and innovative, collaborative projects with experimental musicians and published authors. His works continue to be curated into major private and corporate collections, both within the United States and abroad.