Friday, April 29, 2016

Dave Hardy at Queens International 2016

Destiny 2014, by Dave Hardy, is exhibited in the biannual Queens International exhibit at Queens Museum, New York. Destiny is a sculptural assemblage consisting of foam (soaked in concrete), glass and other found materials pressed into the foam’s surface. They are stacked into a formation, at the base, rectangular volumes resemble a pair of legs and indicate the center of gravity and stability of the piece. The upper portion transcends into more curved and haphazard sections, yet equally securing the positions of neighboring pieces, which almost resembles an anthropomorphic form or the skeleton of something else. Hardy truly conveys the
significance of sculptural materials – if, when, and how materials matter.

 The artist questions the nature as shapeable matter or found commodity, its historical and cultural semiotics or transcendence thereof. It reflects upon the movement of Arte Povera at the beginning of the late 1960s. In particular- Robert Morris’ Felt Pieces, where he invited the material’s properties to take central stage, in his case, gravity combined with the weight of the fabric, allowed the felt to drape and take form organically. Hardy touches on the industrial and architectural, experimenting with a play of extreme opposites. His use of malleable materials such as foam and concrete may appear industrial and harsh however, it is this challenge of finding equilibrium between the two concepts that I find compelling about his artworks. The materiality and physical aspects of his works conveys an embodied bodily function, almost creating a ‘skin-like’ material. I believe Hardy’s sculptures draws the viewers attention with the tactile qualities as opposed to merely visual appeal or use, its existence in time and possible demise, its function in shaping and withdrawing monetary or cultural value, and its very role in shaping the identity and definition of what art is. Even though Hardy’s work questions the use of traditional craftsmanship, the use of materiality truly ties in his unique imagination with technique and places the viewers in center stage within the play of space of materiality and perception.

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