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Tracy Ostmann Haschke

oils / acrylics / drawing media

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artist statement

My work is often representational, a cast of characters pronounced through a style that borders on realism, abstract, and impressionism.  A visual narrative unfolds, revealing events or moments of happenstance which might characterize various roles of human existence.  Dicey and endurance coalesce with clouded psychology noting the possibility of a deeper explanation.  Though at times subjects can be inspired by a family member or friend, a specific “who” is not as important as whom or what they represent.  These figures begin to appear in rough sketches offering composition solutions that evolve into subjects.  Transpired through my search for movement, gesture, and expression, these emerging characters become substantial.

I work in oils, acrylics, and drawing materials, mostly charcoal and graphite.  Thin layers of color are overlapped, paint is drawn and sketched vigorously across and up and down as I manipulate the images I see coming through the paint.  I am work from rough composition sketches and sometimes photo references.  A large mirror is an essential tool throughout my process, allowing me to reference my own features when working with the figure.

Artists who have influenced me throughout my career include Pierre Bonnard, Alice Neel, Max Beckmann, Elmer Bischoff, Joan Mitchell, Gerhard Richter, Isabelle Bishop, and Marlene Dumas.

artist biography

As a native of rural Missouri, Tracy’s artistic roots grew from a family of craftsmen and artisans—wood workers, clock makers, furniture builders, ceramicists and painters.  After receiving her B.F.A. from Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, Tracy received a grant and merit scholarship from The Art Institute of Chicago to attend the Post Baccalaureate certificate program.  In Chicago, her first private, public art project for the St. Louis Metro Link station was completed in 1993.  She began managing a Merchandise Mart showroom, during which time she exhibited her work in several small venue galleries including Red Trike Gallery, owned by Brian Bonebrake. Curator and artist Michael Hernandez de Luna included her work in several group exhibits throughout the 90s including Sumten Fishy, The Creature Show, The Velvet Show, and The Red Show, all of which were also exhibited at the Donnelly Building’s Caffe Baci.


Tracy participated in The Art Institute of Chicago’s annual fundraiser Bare walls from 1997-2007 and contributed two floating sculptures to Flo-Tilla, curated by Dennis Callahan, and Luke Dohner, in 1995 and 1997.  In 1998, she began exhibiting with Eastwick Gallery in Chicago.  She continued working on 3D projects Including an 8ft. Piranha sculpture for The John G. Shedd Aquarium’s lake taxi, a portrait of Martin Luther King made out of Jelly Belly candy for The University of Pennsylvania, several Jelly Belly mosaics for Jelly Belly Candy Co. and Warner Brothers, and a mosaic constructed out of nuts for Harvest Manor Nut Co. in Ohio.  In 2013, Tracy create and installed a 5’ by 30’ wall of legumes for the new Art and Soul Restaurant in Washington, D.C.


Throughout her painting career Tracy ran a decorative painting business, Studi-O, from 1998 until 2008 specializing in murals, faux, and painted furniture.  Her awards include a Chicago Arts Assistance Program grant award, 1stplace at the Wells Street art fair in 2016, and Best of show at Buck town Art Fair 2010.  Additional exhibits include Women Made Gallery, Edra Soto’s The Franklin, Five Points Gallery in CT. and The Evanston Art Center’s Biennial exhibition2018.  In September 2018, Tracy will be an exhibitor at The Other Art Fair Chicago.  Tracy currently lives and works in Chicago’s E. Garfield park neighborhood in the Carroll Avenue Arts District with her husband and two children.

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