Feature Articles

June Issue 2002

Captain's Bookshelf in Asheville, NC, to Show New Paintings By Werner Haker

The Captain's Bookshelf in Asheville, NC, will exhibit new paintings by Western North Carolina abstractionist Werner Haker June 7 - 29, 2002.

Haker's exhibition, titled In the Moment, will present about 20 recent works. These include the paintings of Haker's new Dukkha series. The Sanskrit word, "dukkah", refers to suffering that results from human yearning and desire. One may yearn for peace, even perhaps for emptiness; or "dukkha" may be associated with lust, greed, or a passion for power. Dukkha may also, in Haker's words, reflect "a yearning for life in life."

"I was born in Hamburg, Germany, as World War II wound down," Haker says. 'My mother is American, and my father was German; and my life has been one of change upon change."

'Moving from Germany to New York in 1946, I became an American," Haker says. "Then, relocating with my family to Switzerland as a teenager and subsequently returning to the US at age 21, returning again to Zurich to teach and practice architecture, and finally moving back to America, I have met myself coming and going."

Last year, Haker began the serious business of transforming himself professionally from designer to full-time painter. The "In the Moment" show presents the fruits of this professional metamorphosis.

From 1974 to 1985, Haker was senior lecturer in architectural design at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, where he practiced architecture. In academic year 1994-1995, he was guest professor in the School of Design at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. The next year, he became a permanent resident of Western North Carolina. His design career dates from his teens, when he apprenticed in architecture in Switzerland. Since 1999, he has been principal of Werner Baker Design in Brevard, NC.

Haker, a serious adherent of Zen Buddhism, says Zen and its practice have great significance in his art, as well as in his life.

"I experience the process of abstract painting as a discipline of condensing and concentration which has its origin in Zen practices," Haker says. "The challenge for me is to exercise restraint without regressing into conceited austerity. My work is about the craving, despair, and pain that belong to human existence. it is equally about surrender of self and discovery."

For more information call the Werner Haker at 828/883-8686.

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