Ron Hartgrove is an artist and jeweler whose creative output suggests a visual exploration of philosophical ideas, ineffable worlds, and holistic systems depicted through a personally coded abstract visual language. Every aspect of his life and work has been profoundly influenced by nearly 50 years of Transcendental Meditation practice.
Ron Hartgrove was born in Big Spring, Texas. He began his career in the jewelry business at the early age of eight. His father, Winston Hartgrove, was a watchmaker who put Ron to work in his store doing simple ring sizing’s, soldering of charms and the disassembly of manual wind watches for cleaning and repair. The leisure time during Ron's teenage years was spent learning and developing advanced jewelry design, bench skills and art. After graduation from high school, Ron decided to travel throughout Europe, but his studies were cut short when he was called back to the United States by the draft.
After serving in the United States Air Force, Ron turned his attention to the study of art history. In 1973, Ron graduated from the University of St. Thomas with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in the fields of studio painting and art history. Ron's paintings, during college, were shown at the University of St. Thomas, Rice University, the Louisiana Gallery, the David Gallery and others. He became acquainted with international art collectors Dominique and Jean de Menil who commissioned and owned several of his works, which are now part of their permanent collection of the Menil Art Museum in Houston.
During the early to mid 70's, Ron was instrumental in forming 'The Mandala Group'. This was a group of five artists inspired by Carl Jung, Jose Arguelles and others. All of the artists were dedicated to expressing philosophical ideas through the vehicle of the Mandala using abstract, geometric, eight point symmetry, flat color planes in oil paint on canvass. Their works were shown at the Newport Harbor Art Museum in California in 1974, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 1975, and at NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) in Clear Lake, TX in 1976 which was cosponsored by the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.
During the 1990s through 2008, Ron focused on the jewelry business and specifically "ORBIS®", his trademarked line which has interchangeable gemspheres. To see more of the jewelry please visit www.orbisjewelry.com
In 2007, Ron was called to be part of a group show, Lessons from Below: Otabenga Jones & Associates, at the Menil Museum which displayed a 1969 sculpture the group chose from the museum’s permanent collection.
In 2008, Ron once again shifted his attention back to fine art and painting, dividing his time and energy between the two disciplines (jewelry and painting). In 2009, 33 years after his CAMH sponsored show at NASA, Ron had his first solo show in his own studio/gallery, Hartgrove Galleries. It was a double homage to two 16th and 17th century Japanese men; Basho, a founder of the severe form of Zen poetry known as Haiku and Miyamoto Musashi, a swordsman, ronin and author of The Book of Five Rings - Dokkōdō. This show was followed in April, 2010 by The Commission, a complicated body of work commissioned by the late Jean de Menil in 1971. Both of these shows were followed by Return to Sender, Envelope Paintings by the late Jack Boynton and The Letters by Ron, in October of 2010. The Book of Days was a yearlong project that began 1/1/2011 and ended 12/31/2011. Ron did a painting a day which he photographed and posted on his blog. Ron produced a show a year after that, which he exhibited at his gallery in Houston. The unsold artwork from each show is presented on this platform for your viewing, and originals and/or prints can be purchased. Enjoy!
Ron enjoys painting, cooking, traveling, and spending time with his wife Kathleen, his children Sean and Melisa, Shannon and Chris, Erin and Sarinya, Ian and Lynn, Kevin, and Brendan, and his fabulous grandchildren!
Mandala: The Yes in No
Basho's Garden and 5 Rings