This signed screen print from 1988 is a limited edition of 100 from Keith Haring’s Growing series. Striking in its use of bright colour and bold shapes, Growing 5 shows an unusual arrangement of figures. Much like other works in the series, Growing 5 is symmetrical in composition, showing two central figures with their arms outstretched and a figure on either side with their bodies bent over inwards, hiding their heads.
A sense of pattern is created by Haring in this print through his use of angular lines and flattened picture plane. Growing 5 makes clear the way in which Haring’s work appeals to both children and adults alike, using a limited colour palette of four vivid colours – red, blue, yellow and green – and simplified shapes that interlock with one another. Haring’s figures in this print are conjoined and flow into one another so as to emphasise a sense of community and the power of working together.
Haring’s use of symmetry along a vertical central axis and abundance of form marks a clear affinity with Australian Aboriginal and Aztec art. Across the image Haring uses concentric circles, curving, organic lines, figures and zig zags, to create an abstract pictorial system that moves and flows with the viewer’s eye. Indeed, Haring’s focus on pattern makes this work distinctly ‘primitive’, much like that of the European Modernists like Klee and Matisse.